© Aryana Minai

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Aryana Minai

Los Angeles, California

Artist Statement

My work features molded, impressed, and deeply pigmented paper pulp sculptures and wall works that mimic the forms and poetics of architecture. I was raised in Iran around architecture, which primarily inspires my practice. I have been exploring how our bodies mimic architecture; they both hold and release memory, and their well-being depends on how we care for them.

Currently, papermaking has been a dominant material. My work takes paper as something founded between tradition and craft, concerning the diasporic subject's daily lived experiences in the Iranian-American context. I think of the brick monuments in Iran my father so urgently educated me about, fearing the limit of their time, thankful for its extent. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, situated in one of the earliest cities in history named Uruk, we learn that Gilgamesh, fearing an end, seeks immortality. When he realizes he cannot obtain it, he seeks it through creation by building a brick city. The creators engrave every brick with their name, knowing that it will last after them for time to come.

I yearn for material with a past life, capable of a new cycle. So I recycle what I can from my daily findings and turn them into pulp. As the pulp is wet, I bind them by pushing down to form larger pieces. Impressions of my fingertips are preserved like fossilized footprints that emerge from a lakebed during a drought. Embodying loss, bittersweetness, and nostalgia, I embrace these human traces, aligning my sculptural process with geological time—fossils are but a stone's memory of the bones of an animal. Bricks and other small sculptural elements such as paper pulp hands, flowers, altars, and other biological or architectural motifs are embossed and added as needed.

Both materials, paper, and bricks, are earth broken down and put back together. They are materials with which I can build or rather, rebuild. I almost feel the same way, having to shape-shift and exist in these two worlds. For me, architecture is a body: it is alive, has a beating heart, and pulsates memories. I create remembered and imagined spaces that are situated within the context of places and recollections that survive or don't.

© Aryana Minai

Aryana Minai's Portfolio

© Aryana Minai

Artist Biography

Aryana Minai (b. 1994, Los Angeles, CA) makes paper-based sculptures and wall works that are intimately linked to philosophies and histories of architecture, migration, labor, the body, and the handmade. Minai identifies paper as a material that links storytelling, tradition, and craft, centering her practice on the diasporic subject's daily lived experiences as she draws from her personal archive of decontextualized Iranian-American content. The architectural quality of Minai’s works embody a lived survival instinct—to preserve historic space and inhabit safe spaces—as well as an interest in what salvaged and saved materials can teach us. Using bricks and stones from buildings that no longer exist, woodblocks used a generation ago to create textile patterns, parts of vernacular decorative architecture, Minai embosses into paper that she pulps from found materials in small batches in her studio. Minai envisions architecture as a living entity that continually sheds and acquires memories as bodies pass through its spaces.



© Aryana Minai

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