We all need
to wake up a little
The three hands – each four metres high – are covered with blue dolly rope: synthetic plastic threads that are attached to fishing nets to protect them when they are dragged along the seabed. Every year, some 65,000 kilos of it ends up in the coastal waters of Belgium and the Netherlands. Some of it washes up on the beaches. Volunteers collect it and deliver large amounts of it to Zierikzee based artist Kianoosh Gerami.
Using this dolly rope, which becomes a kind of fluff (pluis in Dutch) when dragged along the seabed, he has made an installation that issues a warning: Look at what we are doing to the sea. All that plastic; next time you eat a mussel or a fish, it will likely contain plastic granules, so these will end up inside of us – humans. This is not good, we have to do something about it!
Kianoosh Gerami’s hands were previously on display at the Dikke Toren in Zierikzee in 2021. Now ‘Project Pluis’ is on display at the square Abdijplein in the context of Façade in Middelburg. For the sculpture exhibition, the installation has been extended with an alarm bell covered with dolly rope. It lies on the stones and cannot really ring. But the artist is sure that everyone will hear it. Later this year, the three hands will also make a sailing trip on a tjalk ,the Vrijbuiter, along the Dutch coast towards the Wadden Islands to draw attention to the pollution caused by fishing. Anyone who wants to, can join the trip by appointment (more info on www.pluis.nu).
Are we talking to an activist artist? Kianoosh Gerami: “I don’t really want to be an activist. I’d rather be an environmentally conscious artist. We all need to wake up a little and find balance for our earth. It is high time for us to take action. The solution is available. A biodegradable alternative to dolly rope, biopluis, has been developed and can be used immediately. However, there is little enthusiasm for it among the government, among municipalities, among fishermen.”
Kianoosh Gerami was born in Cairo. From the age of three, he grew up in Tehran. After studying art in Tehran and Rome, he and his partner settled in Rotterdam. Ten years ago, he moved to Zierikzee. Does his Egyptian-Persian background play a permanent role in his life? “Yes and no. Most of my work is rooted in exploring my multicultural background. My work is based on research in memoirs, history, literature and art of both the East and West. I consider myself a visual anthropologist.”
“I miss my Persian culture. But there is something in my DNA that prevents me from becomming attached to a place easily. My father was a diplomat who travelled a lot. I can’t really say I miss Cairo or Tehran. If tomorrow we decided to move to Spain, for example, after having lived in Zierikzee for ten years, I wouldn’t miss it. I am a citizen of the world.”
Artist, photographer and graphic designer. “I am versatile. Call me a multidisciplinary artist. Creating art ranging from film to sculpture. I was trained as a painter and have a master’s degree in Illustration. First, I think of what I want to make and only then I choose the means art form: sculpture, painting or film. Or a combination of those. In everything I make, you can recognise my handwriting. I don’t want to show that I come from Persia too much. I do indicate it very subtly. It is in the way of telling a story, it is in the use of symbols. Like hands, which are very common symbols in ancient Persian and Egyptian cultures. They symbolise the relationship between man and nature. There is a power in there, a spirit that you can find in every religion.”
Kianoosh Gerami (Cairo, 1981) lives and works in Zierikzee. In 2004, he obtained his bachelor’s degree in Painting from the Faculty of Art and Architecture of Tehran Azad University. Two years later, he got his Master of Arts in Illustration from the same university. From 2005 to 2007, he studied Painting at Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma in Italy. He participated in dozens of group exhibitions in the Netherlands and abroad. In 2013, he was awarded ‘best young talent’ at Kunstschouw. From his studio in Zierikzee, called EK-Studio, he holds various teaching positions, in among others, photography, animation and photoshop (at Toonbeeld Terneuzen), and drawing and painting (at Cultuurhuis Kuiperspoort in Middelburg and Cultuurhuis ZierikC in Zierikzee).