The Precious Pain
I made this piece influenced by lyrics and a poem sung by the Kurd-Iranian Singer Shahram Nazeri. My motivations were twofold. One is the Sufi logic that illustrates a complicated and unresolvable dynamic. The paradox. The poet states that they are hurt by a friend. However, the friend has nonetheless remained a friend, and more importantly, the pain is the manifestation of the relationship between the friend and the poet. The second line emphasizes that the poet would absolutely refuse any cure. Which points to the preciousness of the nature of that pain. The second reason that drew me to use this poem is the ambiguity of its identity. The face, position, politics, and identity of the “friend” is unrenderable. Although I understand that this characteristic is applicable to most Sufi and mystical poetry. But in the case of this poem, the identity of the author happens to be disputable as well. Hence the entire tension is unfolding in a situation that is in-between ambiguous identities. Moreover, I am drawing this poem outside of its Sufi context. I am repurposing and appropriating it to create a parallel between the paradoxes in the poem and the absurd Iran/US relationships. I think of this “precious pain” that exists because of the various atrocities carried back and forth between both states that were also historically once “friends.” Unlike in the poem, pain that is produced as a result of US/Iran tensions, is not motivated or aimed at finding love or emotional intelligence. Rather for both states, maintaining pain is strategically precious to memorialize and monumentalize and to further their imperial agendas. Eventually, I think this poem also leaves space to rethink the nature and notion of pain, its memory, value; and ultimately ask what is to be done.
Illya Mousavijad is an emerging, multidisciplinary, conceptual artist born and raised in Isfahan, Iran. He received his BFA at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and his MFA from Weitzman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania. His art
practice investigates the limits and extents of exile, border and identity politics, Middle Eastern history, exile literature, US and Iran relations. He works across varied media including installation, painting, video, and computer animation. He has collaborated with international artists of various disciplines and exhibited in Iran and the US. He is currently the Visiting Assistant Professor in Art and Technology at The Ohio State University.