In Travelling Demons, Tehran-born artist Malekeh Nayiny explores the curiously intimate relationship between oneself and their inner demon. Both unnerving and playful, her sinister creatures are based on the Persian mythological Div, a supernatural entity with damnable characteristics. Adorned in papier-mâché masks and colourful patterned clothing with motifs of human organs, these diabolical creatures are photographed as surprisingly at ease in innocuous settings, not unlike tourists. Nayiny’s images provide reflections of our transformation from childhood to adulthood, driving a world dominated by superficiality, disillusionment, and fear, while simultaneously revealing a lighthearted approach to self-discovery.
Nayiny received her BA in Fine Arts and Photography from Syracuse University in 1978, followed by studies in Advanced Photography at the International Center of Photography in New York from 1980 to 1982. Her work has been long celebrated internationally and is included in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution, the British Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Nicéphore Niépce House Museum, Chalon-sur-Saône, Louis Vuitton Malletier, Fédération Nationale d’Achats des Cadres (Fnac), and the Coca-Cola Company. The artist currently lives and works in Paris, France.