- Museum number
Dark brown T-shaped felt cloak with a small round neck, decorated with four repeated silk embroidered inscriptions in Farsi and 1001 small metal keys sewn in rows on the front. The piece is a reinterpretation of a traditional Iranian shepherd's cloak (namad), made for display only. The keys symbolise the 'keys to paradise' and the translation of the inscription is 'Martyrdom is the key to paradise'.
- Production date
Length: 102 centimetres
Width: 116 centimetres (sleeve to sleeve)
- Curator's comments
- Bita Ghezelayagh works in the traditional Iranian craft of felt-making. For her 'Felt Memories' series (2008-2009), Ghezelayagh was inspired by the Islamic tradition of talismanic garments worn to protect the wearer from misfortune and most often used in a military context to give physical and spiritual protection when the ruler went into battle. She reinvents this tradition, which would originally have used luxurious materials by substituting this for an everyday rural material such as felt.
Heavily influenced by post revolutionary popular culture, Ghezelayagh uses metal keys, crowns, tulips (symbols of martyrdom), machine guns and other street symbols combined with printed Persian phrases to cover the surface of her pieces. The juxtaposition of urban imagery with a rural craft tradition creates a new visual language which embraces both tradition and modernity.
Bita Ghezelayagh was born in Italy and now lives and works between London and Tehran. She was shortlisted for the 2011 Jameel Prize based at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2013 25/01 - 07/07 Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry - "Caught in the Crossfire: artistic responses to conflict, peace and reconciliation".
- Acquisition date
- Middle East
- Registration number