No Fork Needed
‘No Fork Needed’ is an exhibition of artworks by London based artist, Leily Moghtader Mojdehi. The artist welcomes her audience home to her domestic mixed media collages that exude warmth and bring the comfort that comes from casual snacking. Food evokes feelings of familiarity, and knowing, and is arguably the easiest way to connect to a culture. Mojdehi explores her transcultural identity through artmaking, traversing diverse genres of representation including but not limited to, quilting, photographic collage, sculpture, crochet, and embroidery. Community and dialogue are intrinsic and necessary to Mojdehi’s practice, and she discovered this during her time at Goldsmiths university. Consequently, Mojdehi and several of her friends formed the artist collective ‘Floor Five.’ The group gathers to discuss their shared experiences as students of colour, and to support each other through their creative practices.
The colours in Mojdehi’s artworks are evocative of the seasons, particularly reminiscent of those in Iran. The Iranian seasons, as told by Mojdehi, are far more distinctive than those in the UK. Summers are searingly hot, and winters are freezing cold. Mojdehi fondly recalls the concentrated flavours of Iranian fruit and vegetables: they taste as vibrant as they are visually depicted in the works of ‘No Fork Needed.’. In longing for the dramatic season changes and heightened flavours, the artist is aware that “she has caught a case of nostalgia and is experiencing its effects of making memories seem sweeter as time passes.” The humorous and exaggerated expressions of her figures tell this story, as they grasp at and/or devour their food.
Craft traditions, often dismissed due to their gender and ‘ethnic’ associations, have long been absent from art history. Previously considered ‘amateur’ or ‘hobbyist,’ they have now flooded the contemporary market propelled by artists including Faith Ringgold, a pioneering activist known for her painted story quilts. For Mojdehi, crochet is a skill inherited from her grandmother that is now so intrinsic to her work. She uses textiles, sourced from Tehran, Dubai, and London to piece together stories about place and displacement.