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About Parastoo

Baltimore City

Parastoo Aslanbeik's picture
Born and raised in Tehran, Iran. Came to the US in 2015 to Study Intermedia and Digital Arts for my masters at University of Maryland Baltimore County. I hold a BFA in Photography from Art University of Tehran. My focus is mostly on photography and photo installation. 

Wispobish: Forest of Ghosts, Tower of Voices

Wispobish is a powerful tree in Persian mythology. The tree contains the nest of the Simurgh, a mythical phoenix-like bird, representing benevolence. In Persian, the word Wispobish means ‘the cure of every disease.’ I am employing the symbol of the Wispobish in response to the attempts to ban Iranians and other Muslims, from the United States, regarding to the recent Executive order 13769 Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry. I utilize the old photographic technique of wet plate collodion in combination with tree branches to create a ghostly forest. A fragile yet monumental structure constructed from white-washed cardboard boxes, is inscribed with ancient Persian poems and silhouettes of branches. In this piece, I hope to evoke the voices of those who have been demonized and offer healing through collective strength.

  • Wispobish.jpg

    This installation is made of two monuments. The first monument is the one in the center of the gallery with cardboard boxes. On the boxes there are photo transfers of different parts of trees and handwritten Persian Poems. This monument is a representing a mother tree. The second piece is an assemblage of tintypes and ambrotypes, an old technique of photography know as Wet Plate Collodion.
  • Poems.jpg

    Hand-written Persian poems on cardboard boxes with photo transfers of Trees on the boxes.
  • Plato's Cave.jpg

    A part of the Wispobish Installation. This assemblage is made of tintypes, ambrotypes and tree branches.
  • Plato's cave.jpg

    Detailed photo of the assemblage.

A Tribute to Survivors

Each person has an individual story. There are many factors that can change this story but some parts of our lives are inevitable. We can’t choose where or when to born. One of the most important factors of our lives is color. The color of skin, eye or hair has influence on our destiny.
Do we have any choice to decide where to live? Can we choose our country or families? There is always a mysterious obligation about our lives. Someone or something already has decided about every single person’s fate. We all born in a same situation, from a woman who has carried us for about 9 months with no difference.
I always prefer to use different elements as metaphors in my works. Maybe this is one of the things that I’ve acquired from my culture. In Persian ancient and modern literature, tree is a symbol of resistance and strength. They stand sturdy in different situations. Their appearances change due to climate change. They lose their leaves in fall and winter but with first breeze of spring the blossoms are back again. But the most important phase is when they’ve lost their leaves in the winter. They are covered with snow, but still dance in the wind. When it snows, they are all covered with whiteness of snow. They all look similar. It paints everything equally and hide their diversities. But then Spring comes and melts the ice. Everything is back to its “natural” color and we forget how trees had looked like when covered with snow. We begin to categorize them in different species and where do they “belong” to or where is “better” for them to grow and where they “can’t” live. Do we, as humans, have any similarities to the trees of my story?
Trees communicate through their roots. They support each other and make a supportive community under the ground which is invisible. They help each other grow and become stronger. They survive through hard times by helping each other. My work is a tribute to these survivors. No matter if they are human or trees. They are doing their best to resist in hard time. Such as an immigrant does when she or he is in a new place facing new people. This person become the "other" of that new place, because he/she looks different and speak another language.

  • Photo-Sculpture #1

    This is a photo- sculpture made from Tintypes, Tintypes and painted branches.
  • Photo-Sculpture #2

    Sculpture made from a Tintype and painted tree branches.
  • Tribulation

    Sculpture made of cardboard box and painted branches, hanging from the ceiling.
  • Monument of Survivor

    Sculpture made of cardboard boxes, tree branches and printed photos on boxes.
  • Sculpture #3

    Sculpture made of Tree branches, cardboard box with a projection of an animation.
  • Collage

    This installation is a collage of Tintypes and Ambrotypes making an image of tree on the background.
  • Tree

    Ambrotype of a tree.

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