In this new series of artworks, Mahnaz Karimi deftly renders Sistani fabrics with a mixture of resin and mirror paying homage to traditional arts of her ancestors and taking them into the world of modern art. The artist's main concern is the revival of traditional heritages like Sistani Carpet as she believes the traditional world is melting away and is becoming almost unrecognizable in the modern world.
The fabric used in this artwork has motifs, colors and patterns of Sistani carpets which were obtained from the ruins of Shahr-e-Sookhte (the Burnt City). Shahr-e-Sookhte was once one of the largest communities in Iran and it experienced four stages of civilization. In addition to engraving, forging, matting, jewelry, masonry, pottery and fishing, the textile industry has to be described as a boom in the city. Traditional Sistani textiles are not something that is usually associated with modern art, but the artist has managed to merge the worlds of classical and contemporary art in a way that creates ties to the past and present.
Another important art of Sistan is embroidering mirrors also known as mirror-work. It is a type of embroidery which attaches small pieces of mirrors or reflective metal to fabric with equal or variable intervals. Mahnaz uses enlarged mirrors and carpet-patterned embroidered fabrics and combined them with resin to create modern abstract works, paying homage to traditional arts of Sistan land and giving them a new application.
In addition, the patinaed parts of the mirror can reflect our past and once accompanied with our own self-image, there is a combination of present and past. Part of our present identity is what we inherit from our cultural heritage. Mirror is also the symbol of light and the light reflected in the mirror can show us the way to the future. Mahnaz's new series of works have multiple layers of meaning, but enriching our lives through the dialog between present and past is one of the most prominent themes that appears throughout her works.