Flowers for Natascha

“Flowers for Natascha.” Pp. 58–70 in Marie Nerland, ed. The Imaginary Reader. Bergen: Volt (2016).

In late November 2010, the Hawthorn Archive received a request from Natascha Sadr Haghighian, a valued associate. A friend of hers, the artist Mehraneh Atashi, had been released from prison in April, where, along with many others arrested at the same time that January, she had suffered badly for having taken photographs of protesters in the streets. When she was released, grudgingly, she was told to stop taking self-portraits and to take photographs of flowers instead; rather foolish advise, as it happens. Atashi had passed along to Sadr Haghighian a set of images – some photographs, some reproductions of paintings – related to flowers, which were to be published the following May in a book whose English title, translated from the ancient Persian poem by Hafiz, was Only the morning bird treasures the flower garden. These images had no accompanying information identifying title, author date, size, materials or subject matter. Natascha approached us to see if we could find the missing identifying information and provide it to her. I prepared the document myself and passed it on. For reasons explained elsewhere, the book project was compromised and aborted. Until 2019 when Mehraneh Atashi and Sohrab Mohebbi co-curated an exhibition Only the morning bird treasures the flower garden featuring twenty-four artists on the theme of flowers at Redcat in Los Angeles US. A book was published, which included a partial and jumbled version of the document (Mehraneh Atashi, ed. Only the morning bird treasures the flower garden. Los Angeles: Redcat 2019). Three years earlier, Marie Nerland published a facsimile of the document and file note that the Archive sent over.