Aphrodite Désirée Navab is an artist based in New York City of Iranian and Greek descent. Her performance art series: Super East-West Woman (ongoing since 2002) is motivated by a strategy of using humor and her own body for political and cultural critique. The concept was born in 2002 after former President George W. Bush branded Iran as one of the three nations comprising an “axis of evil.” It reminded her of the Islamic revolution in 1978-79 when Iran’s new leaders labeled the United States as the country of the “Great Satan.” Growing up in the USA, Navab was destined to critique the nations and cultures that inhabit her identity and who are so bent on vilifying each other.
Navab took her chador and turned it into a cape. The Superman figure of popular Western culture is transformed into a Superwoman whose chador turns into a cape of agency. She pokes fun at herself, her cultures, and the ludicrous situations in which her life, between East and West, has placed her. Cultural displacement has not left her incapacitated; rather, it has given her the capacity to live out her healing vision. Armored with her Persian amulets and Greek anti-evil eye bracelets, Super East-West Woman hopes to chase away the evil for which each nation blames the other.
Her commissioned performance for Shahrzad gallery at 8 pm on April 5th, 2012 at Theaterlab: 137 W 14th St, NYC is a continuation of her Super East-West Woman series: “The Homeling.” Homeling was her Greek grandmother Efigenia’s pronunciation for homeless. Neither homeless nor at home, homeling captures both the horror and the rapture, in re-locating home and world.
Navab invites us to imagine a ‘third space’ of working, contesting and reconstructing, allowing other positions to emerge–a space of transnational and cross-cultural initiations.
Event info can be found here.