Nighttime silhouettes of Middle Eastern rooftops were the inspiration for Siba Sahabi’s new collection of felt lamps.
Entitled Sherazade, the series is comprised of three lamps made of coiled coloured felt strips coated with a layer of paint on both sides. This allows each object to show three colours: the original colour of the felt (surface of the ridges), the inside, and outside of the objects. The metallic paint increases the reflection of the light.
Sahabi’s work is dedicated to ‘Sherazade’, the famous Persian female character and storyteller of One Thousand and One Nights (also known as The Arabian Nights). Sherazade, a wise queen, escapes the death penalty by telling stories to the sultan and giving birth to three sons during a period of 1001 nights.
“This collection of West and South Asian stories date back to the 9th century and was translated by the French writer Antoine Galland in 1717.” says Sahabi. “Since then it has had an immense influence on Western literature, visual arts, dance, music and film. In the 18th and 19th century the heroin Sherazade was eroticized and exoticized by the orientalists. Back then Europe was characterized by bourgeois constraint and Victorian prudery and the Orient was a device for mental escapism. Since the 20th century Sherazade has been transcending her original literary environment, appearing in different novels and films and becoming a role model for discussing female modern-day issues such as self-determination and independency.”
“Though Persian in her origin, Sherazade’s changing European image reflects the transformation of the female role in Western society throughout the last three centuries.”
Sherazade is being exhibited during SALON/KANT at the Bijbels Museum, Amsterdam from June 15 to August 18, 2013.