Maral Bolouri was born in Tehran, Iran. Bolouri is a multidisciplinary artist based in Paris, France.
As a gender non-conforming person, their work previously reflected their experience as a marginalised subject in post-revolution Iran.
From 2009-2011 they lived in Malaysia to pursue a master’s program which guided their practice towards a research-based pursuit.
They moved to Kenya in 2012. Living in Nairobi introduced colonial and post-colonial realities to their practice with a focus on human rights and representation of women in African oral traditions.
Since 2018 they are based in Paris, France where they currently explore gender and identity and the influences of identity politics on one's practice in the art world and beyond.
Their works can be found in several collections including world bank Washington and Absa's permanent collection in South Africa. They are the overall winner of Absa L'atelier competition 2017.
Un-mothering is an ongoing project that explores family history, female lineage, and separation. It questions the patriarchal expectations of women as mothers and nurturers that influences their rights to their own bodies and desires.
Inspired by the French philosopher, Anne Dufourmantelle’s work and the artists own psychotherapy (focused on the mother-child relationship), Maral uses found photos that are reminiscent of her family archive lost during the Iranian revolution and the subsequent war. Maral draws on her family narratives, and the vernacular language that emerges through talk therapy to give a second life to the photos by writing one key phrase repeatedly on the photographed subjects. The phrases are written in her mother tongue, Farsi. The repetition evokes what Dufourmantelle refers to as an oath or a spell, unconsciously given to the child by the mother.
Maral emphasizes the power of the spoken word in an attempt to reimagine this bond and break the old patterns. The subjects in the photographs carry the texts like a vessel. Through this practice, Maral seeks to recreate a family archive aimed at healing, in commemoration and recognition of all living female bodies and those that came before her.