Ramesch Daha (short Version)
Text by Shaheen Merali
The recent work of Ramesch Daha, 32º N/ 53º E is set within the familial universe of life in Iran, between the time of the Shah and his gradual removal by the fastidious Islamic revolution in 1979 and the creation of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Daha, a trained painter and a keen researcher, has used her exacting skills to compose and enhance an apt subject at this particular time, where again this cradle of civilisation and one of the most strategic placed countries of the Near East is under a further political surge and re-evaluation both from within its own boundaries and within in the global arena. Daha has been periodically drawn to mediatic events, submerging herself in working in series that require as much as two years to complete, habitually after an initial phase of intense research. Her series draw on issues of weighty contemporaneity taken from the media, which in the past may have had a great amount of journalistic coverage. Her 9-11 series is an ongoing project, so far consisting of 750 portraits of some the victims from this most injurious of attacks on American soil, whilst the No Comment series bearing a title taken from the solemn daily footage of a news item that is featured on Euronews, likewise examines daily events around the world. Both these series were conceived as history projects, a mapping of geopolitical movements that have shaken the daily realities and whose effects still reverberate.
Anywhere in Iran is 32º N/ 53º E, its generic coordinate according to forlorn cartographers and astronomers of Iran and its previous reincarnation, Persia, which were both well traversed by these professions. Drawn and quartered by empires and a haven for philosophical debate, the land of Iran, is fused with striking thoughts and basks in stark resources. Iran remains one of the most enriched countries in the world, from its long cultural history and its quantifiable sub-terrain amounts of black gold and gas; a mimetic environment within which multiple visions have evolved and, more recently, where Islamic mysticism has been tinged with the state’s refinaries. It is a complex whole, affecting its citizens hybrid rights as it perpetually swings between revolutionary foliation and a messianic grasp.
Daha, started her research with the stock and cast of its resources, the plantations of pipelines and the blustery diaphragms (the oil fields) that makes the world move - all the geological wealth and the Google Earth blemishes of tarnished deserts and scarred rural peripheries, its nuclear gambit and the cat and mouse of what and where’s? This is the stuff of memory; of a landscape.
The drawings, in slight pencilled lines and mainly monochromatic with plain white backgrounds, start to untangle a much darker landscape at play, one of counter strategies and men in black suits scouring and ploughing demonic seeds of hate and difference in the existing system. The many drawings help to build a more urban picture of Iran, mainly of Tehran, its crux and bane of fleeting change and deathly policing and politics.