This week, we caught up with artist Kamran Samimi to reflect on his time as Shangri La’s Artist-in-Residence in 2020. He shared his thoughts and a few of his favorite stone images from his time at Shangri La.
Though Samimi’s residency was originally scheduled to span two weeks, the unique circumstances induced by the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a 14-month residency—the longest residency in Shangri La’s history. Samimi’s extended period of time at Shangri La, often in socially distanced solitude, meant he had ample time and space to explore the role of artistic creation amidst a difficult global event.
“As I sifted through the 1000+ photos which I took during my residency, I found dozens of stone photos (big surprise 😅)” said Samimi.
“When I look at these images of stones, I remember my complicated emotional state at that time they were taken: the feelings of uncertainty and dread related to COVID’s impact across the world, but also the serene stability that each of the site’s stones seemed to exude, whether they were born here, or migrated here from far away. This sensation is one of the reasons behind my exhibition’s title, “Sanctuaries” — Shangri La became a place for me to reset and reflect upon the myriad of ways in which I’m connected to this planet through my daily experiences, and my human and non-human ancestors.”
Kamran Samimi is an Iranian/Scandinavian sculpture and print media artist from Laupāhoehoe on Hawai‘i Island. His works encourage contemplation of identity and one’s relationship to their environment.
Want more of Samimi’s work? Check out his residency and the “Sanctuaries” exhibition page on our website. To hear more about the residency in Samimi’s own words, listen to the Shangri La Audio Podcast.