Astronomy: Imaging the Moon

Astronomy: Imaging the Moon

Imaging the Moon, plates vii, detail

Medieval Astronomy: Imaging the Moon, 2020

Contemporary Iranian Art & the Historical Imagination
Art Exhibition at UMass Dartmouth Campus Gallery, Feb-April, 2020

Karimi’s current series, Imaging the Moon, sets out to honor Man’s fascination with the Moon throughout centuries of scientific exploration while celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon mission. It has also allowed Karimi to revisit her childhood obsession with the ‘mysterious Moon’, this time exploring it from the point of view of science.

The inspiration and foundation for this series stem from two extended visits to the British Library (London, UK) and the Chester Beatty Library and Museum (Dublin, Ireland) undertaken by Karimi in 2018-2019 to study a selection of Persian astronomy manuscripts. The manuscripts in the custodianship of these institutions reveal intricate drawings and explanations about the Moon and stars from a bygone era. In Imaging the Moon, she has appropriated diagrams and images from the medieval archival materials that include the Kitab al-Tafhim by Biruni, Suwar al-kawākib by al-Sufi and Ajayeb al-makhlūqāt by Qazvini.

Karimi has designed her plates as layered compositions of imagery. One layer reveals iconic scientific illustrations found in those early Persian scientists’ manuscripts; another presents her own interpretation and re-creation of astronomical diagrams, most importantly of the Moon. By combining the original, historical images with her own, in Imaging the Moon Karimi aims to create imaginary astronomical pages – a blend of the whimsical and archival. This layering process is her way of preserving these early works of astronomy and opens a door to consulting and collaborating with scientists who are long-gone, and their historical documents.

Imaging the Moon, Plates i-iv, 2020, digital illustration and print on aluminum
Each, 12 x 8 inches
Medieval manuscripts used to create the above images include the Kitab al-Tafhim by Biruni, Suwar al-kawākib by al-Sufi.

By combining the original images with her own, in Imaging the Moon Karimi aims to generate imaginary astronomical pages – a blend of whimsical and archival. This layering process is her way of preserving these early works of astronomy and opens a door to consulting and collaborating with these early, long-gone scientists and their historical documents.

Imaging the Moon, Plates v-viii, 2020, digital illustration and print on aluminum
Each, 12 x 8 inches

Karimi has designed her plates as layered compositions of imagery. One layer reveals iconic scientific illustrations found in those early Persian scientists’ manuscripts; another presents her own interpretation and re-creation of astronomical diagrams, most importantly of the Moon.

Imaging the Moon, installation view at UMass Dartmouth, Campus Gallery, New Bedford, MA
Contemporary Iranian Art & the Historical Imagination

An exhibition of contemporary Iranian artists reflecting on Iran’s history, politics, and cultural heritage; showcased alongside facsimiles and original versions of historic manuscripts and images on loan from the Ars Libri Ltd Collection in Boston.

Contemporary Iranian Art & the Historical Imagination
UMass Dartmouth, Campus Gallery, New Bedford, MA

Research

Kitab al-Tafhim by Biruni, Persian Astronomer
British Library, London, UK

Suwar al-kawākib by al-Sufi
Chester Beatty Library and Museum, Dublin, Ireland

Ajayeb al-makhlūqāt by Qazvini
Chester Beatty Library and Museum, Dublin, Ireland