When I first met my ex-husband and he told me he was from Persia, I raced home to try and locate it on a map to no avail. The culture he identified with as Persian, which I now know as Iran, was foreign and exotic to me. As I learned more I fell in love with the ancient and proud culture of the Persian people going so far as to name my son Cyrus after the great Persian Emperor. The Cyrus cylinder is recognized as the first declaration of human rights ever and he is remembered in the old testament as the only gentile named a messiah for his dedication to human liberation and freedom. As my relationship progressed I learned a more of the contemporary culture and the oppression of women. In exploring this within my art I started to incorporate graphic elements inspired by Farsi, which gave the sense of visual poetry and feeling of wanting to understand if only I understood the symbols. I also became fascinated with the veil. Almost all cultures have an element of veiling of women, the bridal veil as well as the religious veil of a nun (my mother had been a catholic nun).
ABOUT THE ARTIST
I work as an artist and shaman. My work draws influence from the oldest sources I can find. From the I Ching – Book of Changes, prehistoric paleolithic art, and ancient mythology, all of these inspirations leave trails of wisdom that I explore and incorporate in my art. The female form is the unifying theme that brings these ancient elements together. I believe that my function as an artist is to envision a mytholization of the expanding universe, these visions come from reflection, meditation and a connection to the spirit world.
© Raissa Bailey