Naz Amiri at work

There is an urge in me to find quiet, dark, and private places, which is probably connected to my personality and my cultural background. As a native of Iran living in the US, I compare private and public places from each culture and examine the effect of culture and religion on my notion of privacy. Privacy and quietude are two essential components of a space which are missing in today’s public areas and can provide a unique and stimulating environment that reinforces the sense of serenity and peace of mind in a person. I intend to make a private space that is accessible to everyone regardless of their age, sex, or belief.

Privacy seems, to me, the most natural and vital right of a human, but it is not accessible to people of all classes. Privacy has always been related to wealth, power, and privilege. Quietude, distance and time to be alone is not only beneficial for so-called introverts, but for everyone in today’s busy life. Years ago I decided to change my studio space into a more private corner to provide a better environment for me to think deeper and contemplate with less distraction. A little deeper into my practice, I found myself questioning the contemporary challenges to achieve privacy in public areas.

I form my installations with perforated, lightweight walls that appear like veils, while still functioning as barriers. I am attracted to traditional Iranian structures because of the degree of privacy they afford and the ways in which boundaries, doorways, and passages are established.

I also address gender in my current body of work by transforming hard architecture into soft materials. The division of labor has been gendered all around the world for so many years. Men have been mostly responsible for “making” and “building” structures, and women were kept inside and historically were expected to “decorate” the interior space. As a female artist, I use conventional “craft” materials such as fabric to “build” space and cover the exterior of my surfaces with embroidery and appliqué, which are associated with femininity. These were concealed as hidden treasures inside the home and didn’t get a chance to be appreciated relatively; it is as though I am bringing the inside out.