About the Exhibition
Father Gave Water/Baabaa Aab Daad: An Homage to Childhood, Persian, and Process is a presentation of an artist’s book and its iterations by Golnar Adili.
Adili drew inspiration from her own childhood education in Iran, where all first graders learn the phrase “Baabaa Aab Daad” (translates to “Father Gave Water”) as a foundational example of the elemental letter and sound composition in the Persian language.
As a mother to a multilingual toddler, Adili was further inspired to employ a system of blocks and puzzles within her artist book as a reference to her daughter’s tactile style of play.
In conducting research for this project, Adili learned of Iranian educator Seyyed Abbas Sayyahi, who drafted the country’s first-grade curriculum and co-founded a system of schools to serve the nomadic population.
Adili could not find any formal recognition of Seyyed Abbas Sayyahi’s immense contributions by Iran’s education department, Sazman é Aamoozesh va Parvaresh, so she decided to celebrate his important work by including him in her book.
Ultimately, Adili views her artist’s book as a didactic tool for English readers to fully understand the Persian sentence “Baabaa Aaab Daad.” The book includes an English phonetic key for the Persian alphabet and color-coded diagrams that break the sentence down word-by-word.
A bilingual speaker and reader herself, Adili is fascinated by the connections between English and Persian, which are both Indo-European languages, and pursues new formal and visual translations through her art practice.
In tandem with her presentation at CBA, Adili has a solo exhibition on view at CUE Art Foundation: Found in Translation: A Story of Language, Play, and a Personal Archive—an investigation of Persian language and diasporic identity curated by Kevin Beasley. CBA and CUE will announce joint programming shortly.
CBA’s Collections Spotlight: Alphabet Books was inspired by Adili’s Father Gave Water/Baabaa Aab Daad project.
Images courtesy the Artist.