Environmental Art Calender 2009

Works by Ahmad Nadalian

Contemporary Art in the Natural World

Dreaming Fish

Ahmad Nadalian, sand print, cylinder seal rolled on a beach, Persian Gulf Coast, Iran , 2007

Iranian artist Ahmad Nadalian is known for carving images of fish, lizards and other creatures into river stones throughout the word, leaving them behind as gifts to the waters or to be discovered by local residents.  His sand prints are inspired by an ancient printing technique in Iran which uses carved stone cylinders to create repeating patterns.  As part of the Persian Gulf Environmental Art Festival, "I made a big cylinder seal and printed images of fish along the beach." Says Nadalian. "This cylinder seal was then left on the coast for the ocean to take away. It was dedicated to the unknown fish man who may discover it. Very soon I came back to notice that this gift had been accepted."

According to a tradition in the north of Iran images of fish or snakes can be a sign of treasure and fertility. By carving them onto cylinder seals and river rocks, Nadalian seeks to heal the spirit of neglected streams and coastlines. "I have always been interested in making bridges: bridges between ancient symbols and new media, bridges between folk art and intellectual art."

Nadalian's work is "not only a performance, but also a prayer, a form of worship, an invocation."Art offers a blessing and hope for "harmony with the past, with the earth and the heavens.