“Chel Kal”, a drawing-based installation, borrows its name from a Mazandarani* folk ritual. In Mazandaran, due to traditional agriculture, rice farms are dependent on the climate. Farmers also have their own rituals to negotiate with the climate which Chel Kal is one of them. In humidity summers, right before harvesting, rice farms need dry sunny weather. In this period, when rainy days come, farmers, write down names of chel kal** on a piece of paper and toss it into the river, so, the rain stops.
When I was a child, on the rainy days, I used to write down my own chel kal on a piece of paper and hang it from the rope between tree branches which intended to dry washed-clothes, hoping that stops the rain. Bringing “Chel Kal” as an installation in the gallery, I aimed to visualize an unsolved tension between my childhood and adulthood and also blend my Mazandarani cultural experience in Canadian cultural experience.
The installation was exhibited in the Special Project Gallery, York University, 2019.
*Mazandaran is the Northern Province of Iran. Mazandarani or Mazani means related to or coming from Mazandaran.
** In Mazani dialect, chel means forty, and kal means bald-headed. Chel kal means forty bald-headed.