Artist Projects: Sarah Cain, Avish Khebrehzadeh, Kay Rosen
April - December 2021
The National Gallery of Art
Avish Khebrehzadeh made thousands of drawings to create her animated video Seven Silent Songs. She digitized, edited, and set the drawings in motion in six linked animations that loop to make a seventh overall work. Together, the serene scenes raise questions about migration, climate change, and human nature. The processions start and end with animals. Humans are interspersed to denote balance, cause, and effect. A long line of galloping white horses, symbolizing wisdom, power, and freedom as well as the artist’s native Iran, sets the tone. In other scenes, a man drags a whale, jellyfish and a manatee swim through a fluid environment, rhinos and birds meander through a field, and military figures on stilts drag cans and chairs behind them. A peaceful flight of herons ends the poetic series.
In addition, Khebrehzadeh made A Tree of Life in Blue, a twelve-by-eight-foot drawing, directly on a wall adjacent to the video installation. Her massive tree grows from its earth-bound central trunk and extends through its vast network of branches to reach across the picture plane and toward the sky. The ancient symbol of the tree of life represents vitality and continuity, which Khebrehzadeh connotes through her choice of a blue tone to evoke sky and water. Part of the artist’s series of tree drawings, this work connects to the living creatures shown in Seven Silent Songs.