Mina Katebi

Samsara (2018)
42 x 42 in.

I paint, then I vanish my painting. From my childhood, I can still picture pursuing the spiral of Iranian carpets and becoming confused and lost among flowers, Eslimi, and calligraphy. From a young age, my mind’s encyclopedia was full of these motifs, so I decided to unload them on canvas.

The spiral motion is a movement toward purification, leaving out bad, undesired, and destructive thoughts and giving way to the presence of truth, beauty, and true love. Like a Sufi dancer (in the form of whirling and spinning), I aim to reach the source of all perfection. In Buddhism, samsara is the endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. What I try to do in my work is explore myself in this “passing through”—escaping from samsara to Nirvana. As long as we don’t break the rope of delusion and karma, we continuously have to live with this heavy load of thorns.

I wanted the work to have a self-ambiguity, so I deliberately use color cleaner and sanding to abrade and cleanse some places of my works. As Frances Bacon said, “The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.”

© Mina Katebi