Beginning in January 2022, New York-based artist Bahar Behbahani was in-residence at the Berman Museum of Art to execute a site-specific wall drawing as part of her ongoing body of work, Immigrant Flora. This series explores intersections of science, commerce, and the politics of botany to theorize contemporary cultures of immigration and displacement.
Drawing on her research on Persian gardens and the history of seed trading along the Silk Road, Behbahani worked with Ursinus students to investigate indigenous and invasive local plants, which informed the imagery for a wall drawing executed in ink and lapis lazuli, a semi-precious stone prized for its vivid hue. In Behbahani’s work, plants serve as surrogates for exiled, displaced, or immigrant communities, and bear witness to border crossings, both literal and figurative.
Special thanks to the Ursinus student research team: Kristen Cooney, Sarah Marchione, Nina Rosario and Mekha Varghese.