Botany, Digital Illustration

Botany, Digital Illustration

above: chamomile, detail

Medieval Botany, Digital Illustration, Aluminum Medallions, 2018-2021

These digital illustrations on aluminum medallions are based on The Herbal of Al-Ghafiqi, a 12th c. manuscript from Andalusia, Spain. The pieces evoke memories of my childhood in the Southern city of Shiraz, Iran, known for its herbal medicine tradition. As a child, I spent ample time shopping at the traditional drugstores in Shiraz with my grandmother who firmly believed in the healing power of herbal medicine for all kinds of minor ailments. The plants are designed after the original images from the manuscript and printed on aluminum medallions to evoke the 16th-century Persian decorative tiles. The pieces showcase an introspective representation of my early memories of connection to nature and personal place between memory, the worlds of reality and imagination.

Augmented Selfie, 2018, digital archival prints on aluminum
Each medallion: 12 × 12 inches, installation: 40 × 40 inches
Installation view at Mercury 20 Gallery, Oakland, CA, 2019

Augmented Selfie was an exhibition that showcased artists’ interpretation of “selfie” images in the age of “Selfies.”

Each black and white medallion: 12 × 12 inches
Plants: Viola, Cinquefoil, Buttercup, Chamomile, Cannabis, and Asparagus

Plants: Asparagus, Viola, Buttercup

Endemic Healing i, ii, and iii feature three native medicinal flowers- lobelia, wild columbine, and yarrow- from the states of New York and Massachusetts- where I have family, and friends- and California, where I live. The flowers’ healing properties include treating stress, respiratory issues, sore throat​, or fever. The works symbolically posit the path to recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic. I draw each flower using digital tools and arrange them into colorful garden compositions. The flower gardens are printed on aluminum medallions to evoke the 16th-century Persian tiles of traditional fountains and structures inside the historic botanical gardens in Shiraz, Iran (where my family originated).

The Healing Garden of Asparagus, 2019
Digital illustration and archival print on the aluminum medallion, 20 x 20 inches
Diaspora Voiced, Art Exhibition at Rythmix Cultural Works, Alameda, CA

Chamomile, 2019, 40 x 40 inches, Collection of University of California, San Francisco, CA


Plants: Chamomile, Buttercup, and Asparagus,  Collection of UC Davis Medical Center, Davis, CA
Each 30 x 30 and 40 x 40 inches, 2019
Digital illustration and archival print on aluminum medallions

Plants: Buttercup, Yarrow, and Chamomile, Collection of UC Davis Medical Group, Roseville, CA
Each 40 x 40 inches, 2020
Digital illustration and archival print on aluminum medallions

San Jose Airport, Holding the Moment Art Award, 2020
A Public Art Initiative Responding to COVID-19, City of San Jose Office Public Art Program

Endemic Healing is a poster series in the style of mid-century modern California travel and lifestyle poster designs. The series focuses on the healing properties of nature with implied reference to the Bay Area lifestyle. The inspiration and the content of the posters are directly related to my ongoing research project about medicinal botany and discoveries of the USA native plants that have healing properties – pertinent to COVID-19 symptoms. The posters feature native medicinal flowers of California and other states with healing properties such as treating stress, fatigue, sore throat, and fever. The works symbolically posit the path to recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic and suggest the exploration of and reflection on sheltering in nature. The posters encourage viewers to think about the healing attributes of natural settings in California, and communicate a hopeful perspective on life, and imagine what shall be.

California Healing, 2020, Holding the Moment Art Award, digital illustration, and print on foam board, 36″ x 24″
Endemic Healing poster series

San Jose Aiport, Terminal B, installation view, Dec 2020

Endemic Healing, posters, digital illustrations, 36x 24 inches, 2020
Red Columbine, Mugwort, and Lobelia

Rise With Nature, the winner of the Window Display Art Competition, April 2021

Five botanical banners, digital illustration on vinyl, each 6 x 2.5 feet, San Jose, CA

This project was funded by the Knight Foundation and created by Safely Social San Jose to boost the businesses affected by Covid-19 in San Jose’s Alameda street. Ten artists were paired up with 10 businesses in San Jose Alameda st., where I also live nearby. I was paired up with Crema Coffee Company. I custom-made 5 botanical banners to fit Crema’s windows that collectively called Rise with Nature. The banners included those plants that are served at the Crema.

Five banners, the winner of the Window Display Art Competition, selected by the public
Installation view, April 2021, Crema Coffee Roasting Company, San Jose, CA

Garden of Healing Plants, digital illustration and print on silk and archival paper, 2017,
Collection of Ruth Asawa Foundation, San Francisco, CA
Installation view at the Anniversary Exhibition, 2018

Research

The Herbal of al-Ghafiqi manuscript was composed by the 12th-century Andalusian physician and scholar Abu Ja`far al-Ghafiqi. It is one of the most remarkable medieval botanical manuscripts on medicinal plants, their names, their visuals and their healing properties. Medieval societies and medical practitioners had a great appreciation for the benefits of nature, specifically those plants that prevented or treated ailments. In medieval palaces such as Alhambra in Andalusia, gardens of medicinal plants were created and the benefits of plants were carefully recorded in manuscripts.

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