Folding Gardens, A Stained Memory Installation

Folding Gardens, A Stained Memory Installation

Folding Gardens, A Stained Memory installation has been exhibited four times, in a traveling exhibition, in the San Francisco Bay Area, 2017-2019.

Minnesota Street Project, San Francisco, 2019

“Having printed the work on foldable and transportable silk organza, for Karimi, the notion of carrying gardens of medicinal plants that can be instantly opened and viewed emphasizes the importance of remaining connected to the healing properties of nature. Inspired by original plant images from Herbal of al-Ghafiqi, a prominent 12th Century medicinal botanical manuscript, this installation evokes memories of Karimi’s childhood in Shiraz, Iran, where herbal medicine has been a prominent tradition since the medieval period. Spending time in both traditional drugstores and gardens of Shiraz with her grandmother, Karimi was deeply influenced by the deep belief in the healing powers of herbal medicine and the importance of staying connected to the natural world. During the Revolution of 1979, protests interrupted Karimi’s idyllic life and caused occasional shutdowns of her elementary school. During a rushed evacuation, Karimi was seriously injured, her blood staining the classroom floor. Having printed the black and white floral patterns at Kala Institute in 2017, Karimi now adds fabric strips of red tulips (symbols of martyrdom in Iran) and bloodstains to reveal how a pleasant childhood in Iran became interrupted and “stained” by the Revolution of 1979.”

Folding Gardens, A Stained Memory, 2019, digital prints on silk organza, rods and silk threads, each strip: 10’x 24” total: 10’x 8’x 8′

San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, 2018

Kala Art Institute, Berkeley, 2017

The Folding Gardens, A Stained Memory installation at Kala, showcases fabric strips, plants’ extracts, the sound of the water fountain, and an interactive Medicinal Herbal Volvelle (a wheel-chart). One shelf displays the folded version of strips and the other two display jars, containing medicinal plants’ extracts. Visitors can select any jar and smell its aromatic content and interact with the Medicinal Herbal Volvelle to learn about the healing properties of eight plants. They are also encouraged to walk around the Folding Gardens to see the drawings up close. Such a sensual experience that simultaneously engages the senses of sight, hearing, touch, and smell, is meant to evoke the beauty of the natural world.

2017, digital prints on silk organza, rods and threads, each strip: 10’x 24” total: 10’x10’10’

Medicinal Herbal Volvelle, 2017
Silkscreen on hand-cut aluminum, laser-cut wood and printed text, 24”x 24”
Rotate the black wheel, using the nob, to reveal the healing properties of each plant

Aroma, 2017
Bottles, shelves, labels, and plants’ extracts, 7″x 24″x 8″
Open any bottle and smell the aroma. The labels explain the healing properties of each plant

Euphrat Museum of Art, De Anza College, Cupertino, 2017


3-D rendition of the installation for Kala Art Institute, 2017

Pages of Herbal of al-GhafiqiBotanical Manuscript in Arabic, written by Abu Ja`far al-Ghafiqi, 12th c., Andalusia

Pages of De Materia Medica, Botanical Manuscript in Arabic, originally written by Dioscorides, 1st c., Greece
De Materia Medica by Dioscorides was one of the earliest scientific botanical manuscripts to be translated from Greek to Arabic
Leaves from an illustrated manuscript of the Arabic version of De Materia Medica, copied in the 7th c. and 13th c. in Iran