Artist: Almira M. Nikravesh
Media: Cement, Plaster, Hydrocal, MDF
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery
Almira M. Nikravesh is an undergrad here at the CSULB School of Art and is in the Sculpture Program. This is her last year here as she is set to graduate after this semester. Though this is where she chose to go to school, she is originally from Iran and she’s the only person in her family to pursue art. On her free time, she likes to weightlift and go to the gym. Something I originally didn’t understand about her was when she said she was a maker but she explained she just likes feeling free and having the ability to make things and have power and choices over what shes doing and likes having no restrictions.
When you walk into the exhibit, the main thing your eyes land on is what’s in the center of the room and in this case, it happened to be a replication of Almira’s father’s silk rug. This one though, happens to be made out of MDF, which is basically a product of wood and it’s computer engraved. The other aspect that quickly catches one’s eyes is the plenty of feet lined up tucked within the walls, which all come from the same mold. They are made from hydrocal which is a cement based plaster. The rug itself looks very rugged and textured while the feet mostly look very smooth.
When doing stuff in contemplation with art, Almira says it’s like mixing and matching an outfit, experimenting and trying stuff out and seeing what works and that’s what she does with her art. This is why she thought it was fitting to do feet with the rug. This piece is inspired by culture because her father owns the silk rug she replicated and since it was made of silk, it was very precious and everyone in her household went to the fullest extent to make sure nothing bad ever happened to it. Since no one could ever interact with the rug at home, she made a rug so that people could interact with it and the feet represent that interaction.
To me, it makes sense that she would do something like this because from what I understood when talking to her, she doesn’t like being restricted. This takes away the restriction of not being able to touch her father’s rug back at home and it’s basically like she found a loophole to that restriction. She says she likes things simple and clean but only in relation to aesthetics, not meaning and this exhibition represents that well. When you walk in it’s a somewhat simple piece but then once you find out the backstory, it becomes infinitely more detailed and interesting and complicated.