P A I R I D A E Z A
A L E X A N D R A K A R A M A L L I S
Alexandra Karamallis is a New York-based artist and textile designer who earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2010. Her Iranian heritage is a central theme of her work. Identifying as a member of the Baha’i Faith - an oppressed minority in Iran - she explores themes including the oppression of women, art and minority faiths within the context of oppressive authoritarian regimes.
Alexandra travels to Cape Town annually and has been captivated by the beauty of the land, the vegetation, people and rich culture. She aims to draw attention to beauty in diversity, with particular emphasis on marginalised cultures, through the depiction of gardens, the juxtaposition of nature with architecture, and the representation of the land. She strives to make art that is at once thought-provoking and joyful.
This will be Alexandra’s second exhibition in collaboration with Chandler House, having participated in the 'Sewing Paradise' show at the Irma Stern Museum in July of 2016. Her work will also be exhibited with the Tappan Collective in Los Angeles, California, at the beginning of March.
The title of the exhibition - "Pairidaeza" - is the Old Persian word for "Paradise Garden" which is thought to be the root of the word 'paradise'. The myth of the Paradise Garden is an ancient one found in many religions and describes a place of timeless harmony. According to these myths man was expelled from the Garden and the recreation of this idyllic space has been a major concern in many cultures for thousands of years. Karamallis' exhibition seems to suggest that Paradise might not be that far off if we look around and embrace the differences that we find within our own communities. With current events and international politics at the state that they are - I think this exhibition couldn't have been better timed. I am very joyous to be able to host this beautiful and important exhibition in our Voorkamer.
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“If the flowers of a garden were all of one colour, the effect would be monotonous to the eye; but if the colours are variegated, it is most pleasing and wonderful. The difference in adornment of colour and capacity of reflection among the flowers gives the garden its beauty and charm. Therefore, although we are of different individualities, different in ideas and of various fragrances, let us strive like flowers of the same divine garden to live together in harmony. Even though each soul has its own individual perfume and colour, all are reflecting the same light, all contributing fragrance to the same breeze which blows through the garden, all continuing to grow in complete harmony and accord.”