Are You Buying These with Loonies or Toonies? responds to the question of “where are you from?”, which many immigrants are often asked, by exploring Tom Thomson’s paintings from a diasporic lens. Esfahani explores the notion of being Canadian by commissioning another artist (Jessica Joyce) to create replicas of three Thomson’s paintings in order to destabilize the notion of original through the act of translation. As Bhabha emphasizes translation here is “a way of imitating, but in a mischievous, displacing sense—imitating an original in such a way that the priority of the original is not reinforced, but by the very fact that it can be simulated, copied, transferred, transformed …. The ‘originary’ is always open to translation so that it can never be said to have a totalised prior moment of being or meaning—an essence.” (Rutherford, 210) She also creates 3D printed multiples of these paintings to further disrupt the idea of a static Canadian identity.
In this body of work through making copies of Thomson’s paintings in various media, interventions on found objects, collecting ceramic ducks and loons as the “Canadians”, and utilizing stereotypical Canadiana imagery and Iranian cultural motifs, Esfahani aims to dislocate Canadianess, investigate stereotype as otherness, and destabilize the subjectification and cultural identification that occurs through stereotypical discourse. This body of work simultaneously emphasizes and disrupts familiar motifs representing Canada in order to dissolve traditional boundaries between cultures.
Transcendence and Tranquility is a limited mintage coin as part of the Royal Canadian Mint’s Celebrating Canada’s Diversity Collection designed by Canadian artist Soheila Esfahani featuring a turquoise gemstone surrounded by engraved patterns that celebrate the cultural heritage of Iranian Canadians, from today to those of Ancient Persia and beyond. While a paisley motif surrounds the gemstone centrepiece, a repeating maple leaf (symbolizing Canadian identity) and lotus flower (inspired by the reliefs of Persepolis) form a continuous circular pattern that also incorporates a Shah Abbasi floral motif and Eslimi patterns from traditional carpet designs. (Text adopted from Canadian Mint’s website).
Like Soheila’s Facebook Page
or Follow Soheila on Instagram @soheila.esfahani
to receive updates on her upcoming projects and exhibitions.