Grand Bouquet II

Maryam Najd



Collection: Courtesy of the artist.

Najd’s recent project Botanical National Amalgamation Project, considers the aesthetics of officialdom for nation states globally. In particular, the project looks at the phenomenon of national flowers – when a nation state selects a botanical species as a symbol or nationality and pride. Typically, the flower is one that is known from nature in the locality. But like much of the nature we experience, many species have migrated or been introduced from elsewhere. Yet the flower becomes an emblem considered as being rooted to a place, and also a mark of its inner beauty. Grand Bouquet II (2020) takes its inspiration from historical Flemish master Jan Bruegel the Elder, specifically referencing his painting Flowers in a Wooden Vessel (1606 – 1607) depicting a large bouquet of flowers. In fact, Najd’s paintings adopts the same dimensions as Bruegel’s. Najd used Photoshop to incorporate every current national flower into Breugel’s image, of which there are one hundred and twenty-eight in total (not quite every nation has an official flower). The flowers are painted in a photorealist style, which is an approach the artist has developed in her practice over several years. Each individual flower is meticulously rendered in bloom, capturing their natural beauty. Rather than seen in isolation, they form a distinct unity, together perhaps even forming more than the sum of their parts. This unity can be seen as a meditation on a sense of co-dependency of cultures and nations, not just historically, but also under the conditions of globalisation.



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