Born in Tehran and raised in Montreal, Amir Baradaran’s first foray into art took root in his grandfather’s philosophy and the harmony of his mother’s poetry. His artistic practice great into a recurring exploration of national identity, and brought him to rest on his most recent work: Frenchising Mona Lisa (for which the above is a funny trailer).
Beginning this January 27, you can watch the Mona Lisa come to life using the Junaio application available for free on any Smartphone Appstore. Just chose the channel Frenchising Mona Lisa and point your camera at an image of the Mona Lisa – whether inside the Louvre or in front of any of its reproductions anywhere in the world.
In the work, Mona Lisa comes to life, raising her hands to cover her head with a tricolour head covering. “Frenchising Mona Lisa sheds light on the very processes of naturalization and resignification by utilizing the history of Mona Lisa as it has become an icon of the Louvre and the state of France, even though the portrait itself is that of an Italian woman, painted by an Italian artist,” explains Baradaran about the work.
The work challenges the idea of resistant to demographic changes, particularly as the hijab increasingly becomes a rallying point for discussion of what is “French.” Or, as Baradaran explains “a visual threat to the ideals of the secular state.”
If you’re in New York City, join for the remote opening of Frenchising Mona Lisa and live performance on January 27 from 5pm to 9pm at Benrimon Contemporary.