White Rose

Sara Abbasian
February 15  —  March 8, 2019

Children have been extensively involved in many wars, both by tribes and governments for political and social purposes. They have been abused by militaries and for propaganda. Sara Abbasian has adopted an approach to man’s behavior and attitude in wars that is similar to her earlier dark, poignant, largely symbolic series, namely “The Night-Blind Do Not Show Mercy to Each Other,” “Imperishable Gravity,” and “Epidemy”: invasion, aggression, ravenousness, and mass murder. In one of the series, she sees the night-blind creatures as decadent cannibals. In another, turtles become a symbol for regression and petrification. She also depicts a battlefield in which saprozoic creatures intermingle with humans. Despite its appealing title, “White Rose” is about flower buds with coarse, fat thorns that intertwist around the bodies of children, immediately stealing the sense of fragility and freshness away from both flowers and children. “White Rose” is an explicit, extensive, fierce, and melancholic gesture against war and the conscious and deliberate use of children in this social and political phenomenon.
What Abbasian is addressing has an alternative significance. Sending white flowers has always been used to substitute symbolism for words, by lovers and others, who want to communicate their message of love, hope, and even death. In this series, however, we see the heads and bodies of newborn children with closed eyes, wreathed into the stems of giant white roses, tangled up in a ferocious field of conflict. These entities are those countless child soldiers that do not necessarily carry guns or have military training, but are used for porterage, carrying messages, espionage, provoking public empathy, political propaganda, and a means to satisfy sexual desires.
Among the remarkable features of Abbasian’s recent drawings is the frameless, white surfaces that have become an arena for the invasion of semi-human bodies and symbolic animals. Abbasian is an aggressive artist who invades the texture of paper with a passionate fury in her drawings, frantically grinding the black of his pen against the white of paper to show blackness victorious; this is the moment in which all light is absorbed and captured.

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