Artist: Almira M. Nikravesh
Media: Hydrocal, MDF
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery East
Website: (does not have one)
This week I met the delightful Almira M. Nikravesh. She is an Undergraduate student at Cal State Long Beach, in the School of Art’s Sculpture/4D Program. Almira is currently a senior and will graduate at the end of this semester. Her family is from Iran and her sole interest outside of the art world is weightlifting, since it keeps her in shape for lifting the heavy materials. Almira expressed that she chose the Sculpture Program specifically because she is free to use whatever materials she desires, in contrast to other programs within the School of Art. She has more area to roam and is not restricted to take certain classes as an art student. Almira’s work explores ideas from her own life experiences, due to the fact that she has been influenced by her family life for a long time.
Almira’s artwork utilized two types of materials: Hydrocal and MDF. Hydrocal is a cement-based plaster and was used to create each of the 91 pairs of feet. MDF, or medium-density fiberboard, is an engineered wood that is produced by transforming hardwood into wood fibers and then combining it with wax and resin. After a high temperature and pressure are both applied, panels can be formed. This process ultimately created the carpet we saw on the small gallery floor on Thursday. The carpet was tan-colored and was shaped like a rectangle. Straight lines were used to create the borders and smooth and bumpy textures were present. The border was smooth, while the inside portion had much detail, creating a bumpy texture. Each foot was white and had a very smooth texture. Straight and curved lines were used to shape each of the toenails.
Almira’s artwork and life go hand-in-hand. Her father purchased a Persian handmade silk carpet twenty-two years ago. This has become a form of investment, since silk carpets are valuable due to the labor hours spent weaving them and the expensive material. It was an unspoken rule to never walk on the carpet and to never carry anything near the carpet that could potentially cause damage. The reason for this was to keep the carpet in wonderful condition. As a result, Almira made a recreation of her family’s carpet, since inhabiting overlooked space has become an urge of hers. She encouraged us to enjoy the carpet, the way carpets are intended to be used. This means we were allowed to actually stand, sit, and even walk on it. The 91 pairs of feet were surrounding the carpet, which was in the middle of the room, to symbolize the unspoken rule of not coming in contact to the carpet in any way. Each of the feet were cast from the same mold and were actually molds of Almira’s own feet. She drew inspiration from her family and life overall and used these ideas to ultimately create her artwork. The carpet was a “C and C” version and the message she wants to share with her audience is that her artwork relates to her life.
After speaking with Almira, I learned that she had received mixed feedback from her audience. Some thought her artwork was very cool, while others thought the whole idea of a bunch of feet was creepy. However, I found her exhibition to be incredibly fascinating. As soon as I read the paper posted on the wall, I understood Almira’s intentions, as well as where she came up with the idea. I really liked how the room was very small in comparison to other exhibitions I have seen in the past. I appreciated the way she structured the room, since it greatly emphasized her family’s unspoken rule. It was very simple and I was surprised that the feet were actually molds of her feet. Overall, I thought Almira’s artwork was captivating. I resonated with her choice to draw inspiration from her own life, since I also have done this for many of the projects I have been a part of. It is constantly a goal of mine to use personal experiences to ultimately share my story with others, in a more subtle manner.
Artist Tag: > Gatov-East