Hoda Zarbaf is a Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist, who has ventured through a variety of materials, techniques and literature to make narrations of intimacy and the complex boon of being a woman. Hoda was born in Tehran and received a BFA in Painting from the University of Tehran. In 2008 she relocated to Canada and completed an MFA. These days, Hoda is using recycled textiles, pre-owned clothing, old toys and furnitures to make figurative sculptures.
The use of various old crochets, used socks or pre-owned T-shirts in her work – along with traditional folk practice of stitching and patching – brings a palpable level of intimacy to these sculptures. This correspondingly extols the conceptions of memory and past, which have been constant infatuations of the artist. The displayed notion of “the past” is further strengthened by engaging the absence of the pre-owner/wearer of these garments.
Hoda seeks to achieve a layering of opposites alongside each other, much like how she persistently relates to these self-contradictions. Chaotic stitches that create unity while negating perfection; old furniture that create the impression of stability and permanence, despite the fragility of the adjoining soft figures; and even the bright colours that constantly fight the spookiness of the tumor-like ooze, are all examples of the display of dichotomies.
Above everything else that happens in Hoda’s work, the woman is always in the center and in solitude. The woman must deal with the heap of sentiments: memory, pain, pleasure, sexuality or self-obsession. Hoda shows these women in different roles or states of being; whether she’s vulgar, maternal or cartoonish, she is nevertheless engaged in a lively act of releasing. And this sacred act is what defines her and puts her in a position of reverence.
Displaying this womanly process of release and detoxification – whether it’s the act of child bearing or expressing pain and joy – has always been Hoda’s fascination aboutwomen, and she has tried to delicately express it in her most recent collection “soft souls”.