click to view site navigation menu

Sugar Blessing

Leila Zahiri

September 9, 2014 - October 20, 2014

Essay by Exhibition Essay

September 9- October 20th, 2014

Artists Involved:
Leila Zahiri

Download Exhibition Essay

“Life is a small share, like a cup of tea;
And beside it,
there is love, like some sugar cube;
we must joyfully drink life with love” (Sohrab Sepehri)

In Iranian culture sugar holds many symbolic definitions, one of which is during the wedding ceremony. Within the ritual of the wedding, sugar is a material that is significantly connoted as “sweet love” and “sweet life”. Sugar Blessing examines the complex nature of women who are made to conform to the restrictive cultural tradition of an arranged marriage. From a young age throughout adulthood women are excluded from their own life choices, and need permission from their father, brother or the male in charge of the family. Women are expected to follow particular rules around courtship and marriage.

In Sugar Blessing Leila Zahiri uses two sugar cones as signifiers of sweetness, pleasure, and power to exemplify the opposing implications of the objects used during an Iranian wedding ritual. Zahiri is blessing herself by grinding the sugar cones above her head referring to the particular sugar blessing tradition. This body of work visualizes the cultural and gender tension within traditional, prejudice in societies and creates a visceral response and empathy in the viewer.