Works from the ‘Je mange ma langue…

Photo: of an art installation called Works from the ‘Je mange ma langue’ (I bite my tongue) series
Vancouver City Centre

Works from the ‘Je mange ma langue’ (I bite my tongue) ser…

By Shahla Bahrami

Curated by Zoë Chan, Vancouver Art Gallery

In the hands of artist Shahla Bahrami, food and language are intimately fused. To create the striking photographs that make up her series Je mange ma langue, Bahrami first inscribes well-known Iranian ingredients and dishes with fragments in Farsi gleaned from her own diary or from canonic Persian poems. She then stages and photographs these foods—now decorated with these inked inscriptions—against a dramatic black background.

These seductive images are imbued with Bahrami’s evident delight in Iranian food (tea, Lavash flatbread) and poetry (Rumi, Hafez), and their associated rituals, histories, and traditions. In this way, Je mange ma langue functions as an elegant homage to these time-honoured culinary and literary practices. Moreover, the series also offers brief glimpses into Bahrami’s own identity—crystallizing her deep connection to Iranian culture while hinting at her subjectivity as a diasporic woman and artist. In this way, these images oscillate subtly, and artfully, between the genre of still life and that of self-portraiture.

Presented in partnership with Capture Photography Festival and the Canada Line Public Art Program – InTransitBC