Culture Résidences Published on 29.04.2022

Un-mothering, or when family archives invoke the ghosts of the past

Le travail de l’artiste Maral Bolouri est traversé par les fantômes du passé, du présent et du futur. qui ouvre les portes de son atelier pour permettre au public de découvrir ses travaux.

The work on heritage also permeates the research of Maral Bolouri. Born in Tehran, but uprooted for many years, having lived in Malaysia and Kenya before settling in France, Maral Bolouri tirelessly questions the place made for minority identities, through video, photography, drawing, painting and sculpture.

What happens when our first relationship is formed around a person who is not capable of loving? Too fragile, too scared, too broken to be present? What are the possibilities of this relationship when it is seen as instinctive and innate, never to be questioned or cared about?

With the project Un-mothering, Maral Bolouri explores the maternal bond and separation, but also questions of rooting and uprooting using anonymous family archives and found photos.

Questions that Maral Bolouri tries to answer in the framework of a residency in Neimënster supported by the Nora program which helps refugee artists from countries in open conflict. Thus, the artist examines the maternal bond, separation and loss. Using found family archives as a way to reflect their deepest vulnerabilities around bonding, belonging, and brokenness, they aim for awareness and healing.

To this end, Maral Bolouri uses everyday objects to reflect on her own displacement and uprooting and reimagines the initial alliance to create a dialogue that would otherwise be impossible. The artist will explain this approach to the public during the open house of her studio, during which she invites visitors to present their archives to her for discussion.


Born in 1982 in Tehran, Iran, Maral Bolouri obtained a Master’s degree in contemporary art practice and design in Malaysia and a Bachelor’s degree in painting in Iran.

Established in Kenya in 2012, in France in 2018, she questions gender, identity and the body politic. Her works are in the permanent collections of the World Bank, Washington and Absa. She won the competition of L’atelier, South Africa (2017). In residence at the Cité internationale des arts, she exhibits on its site in Montmartre (festival Visions d’exil), integrates the “guest student program” of the Beaux-Arts de Paris.

She is a member of the workshop of artists in exile.

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