Artist Conversation – Mahsa Soroudi

Exhibition information:

Nature’s Cadence

In the interview, Mahsa Soroudi was born into a Muslim family. She and her family traveled around a lot of Asian countries and learned different aspects of culture along the way. She got married and then left with her husband a week later. They both shared the interest to move away from Iran to experience new cultures, educational opportunities, and a different lifestyle. The revolution didn’t close any opportunities for her which was great for her and her husband.

Nature’s Cadence is more of an experience or journey as she calls it. The piece of work is a collection of succulents that symbolizes close to her own personal life. The work is small if you only look at the succulent plants, but large as a whole. The colors all vary because of the different species of succulents presented. Texture is shown with the pants itself and the various pots that contain the succulents. The art is mainly muted pastel colors, nothing is too vibrant

The work, Nature’s Cadence, is about a journey with drought-tolerant succulent plants that parallels her own “drought” as an immigrant in a foreign land like Southern California. She got involved in different activities like volunteering to pass the time and got accustomed to her new life. She felt nostalgic and homesick because she couldn’t relate to the world around her in California. Mahsa spent a lot of time alone just sleeping or reading. When she was alone, she noticed the succulents were withering like how she was during the time. The succulents gave her motivation because the plants were fighting for life so she could as well. She never forgot her roots.

An excerpt from her description of Nature’s Cadence: I am exploring displacement and resettlement through identifying with the re-plantation of ornamental plants and their adaptation to a new environment. My experience of leaving my country caused an emptiness in my life which left me gloomy and melancholy. My relationship with my plants surpasses a diversion, because just when I thought I would never settle in the U.S., my plants taught me how to remain beautiful and strong while struggling to grow roots and adapt to a new home. Through this process, I experienced a renewed vitality as well as a strong desire to emulate this. In this exhibition, I deal with the idea of resettlement by cutting and replanting mainly succulents, while thinking of certain aesthetic values: the process of dropping leaves, not growing for a while, and starting to grow young leaves one by one, knowing all along a great deal of effort is being made by the plant beneath the surface. This exhibition came to realization mainly to share the effort that it takes for plants to adapt and grow in their new homes in the same way an émigré copes with nostalgia and homesickness while adapting to their new ecosystem. This exhibition calls for us all, from time to time, to listen to Nature’s Cadence.

I can’t relate being an immigrant like her because I was born in America but my culture is Japanese and Chinese. Being able to see other cultures like she did is special and a learning experience. With that, I am grateful for being able to experience two different sets of culture. Her idea about succulents fighting for their lives really interested me the most. She is correct; if the succulents can fight then so can I. The art piece was inspirational and I can use that as motivation for my life.


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