Elnaz Javani is an Iranian artist and educator, born in 1985, in the midst of socially, economically and politically turbulent times; during the Iran-Iraq War. This war she witnessed serves as an important backdrop to her multilayered works, in which personal and collective memory intertwine; fragments of cloth, pins and threads were Javani’s childhood toys in the home where her parents lived and worked as tailors.

Her self-made dolls are self-portraits, covered in automatic writing with fast and nervous stitches. Her diaries are embroidered words stitched onto misshapen bodies or garments.

As sewing and embroidery became her natural medium, Javani’s practice grew into an oeuvre combining textiles, blissfully skilled impulsive sewing, and a love for calligraphy, poetry and storytelling.

After graduating from the Tehran University of Arts, Javani travels to Spain to produce her first large scale project, “Dealing with People”, at the Joan Miró Foundation studios. The Guardia Civil offered support to Javani by granting privileged access to visual and audio documentation on human trafficking gathered through their undercover investigations.

In 2013, the school of Art Institute of Chicago awarded her a full merit scholarship to pursue her MFA in Fiber and Material Studies.

Javani is currently based in Chicago; her practice pushes the boundaries of embroidery towards sculpture, performance and time-based mediums without straying far from the essence of stitching as an intimate, meditative process. Her embroidery often originating from her drawings, an exploration of trauma, violence and the scars left by cultural uprooting that confront and challenge narrow, conventional views of gender, identity, culture, and memory.

Javani’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in the U.S.A, Spain, Iran, France, Colombia, Turkey, UAE, Germany and Switzerland.

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