Botany, Digital Illustration

Botany, Digital Illustration

above: asparagus, detail

Medieval Botany, Digital Illustration
Aluminum (Persian) Medallions, 2019

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, Rythmix Cultural Works, Alameda, CA

Chamomile, 2019, 40 x 40 inches

Plants: Chamomile, Buttercup, and Asparagus
Each 30 x 30 and 40 x 40 inches, 2019
Digital illustration and archival print on aluminum medallions

Exhibition Views

Reception of Diaspora Voiced at Rythmix Cultural Works, 2019
With curators: Michelle Nye (SFMOMA Artists Gallery) and Mayumi Hamanaka (Kala Art Institute)

Exhibition views: Nicole Longnecker Gallery, Houston, TX
and Mercury 20 Gallery, Oakland, CA


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