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Siah Armajani
Paria No.1
1957
Cardboard, paper, ink , watercolour on paper
43.2 x 11.4 cm (17 x 4 ½ in)
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In Paria #1, Armajani’s revolutionary anger is expressed through his quotation of lines by the poet Ahmad Shamlou (1925–2000), which are written in the vernacular below a floating image of the Archangel Gabriel. The artist first roughly copied and then painstakingly traced over the text in an act that seems to transcribe it once again in the artist’s hand, as though the poem were his. It also recalls the use of copying as a way of remembering and honouring the work, and tracing as a physical and almost reverent gesture. The gesture of a trace that also erases recurs across decades of the artist’s practice.