Saiyare Refaei (they/them/she/her) is a Chinese Iranian artist based on the traditional lands of the Puyallup and Coast Salish peoples referred to as Tacoma, Washington. Their mediums include community murals, printmaking, drawings, and poetry. Saiyare strives to utilize art as a means of community building, education, and healing. Saiyare organizes with La Resistencia for the freedom of immigrants detained in the detention center in Tacoma and is a member of Justseeds, a transnational decentralized network of artists committed to social, environmental, and political engagement. Find more of Saiyare’s work here or @_saikick_ on Instagram.
What inspired their art for this year’s Bridge Conference
“As we reunite for this conference to learn, grow and recharge, my hope for this piece in the theme Illuminating Becoming is a reminder of what brings us so much goodness during such uncertain times. Even if we can’t always see what is in front of us, beauty is always there. And the opportunity is always there to do better. The moonflower can bloom at night in part by the light reflected off of the moon. The moonflower is a symbol for the growth potential of our soul and personality in challenging and difficult periods of time. And it’s not only the moon that helps them shine, so many things such as the elements and pollinators such as moths and bats contribute to their success. The moonflower needs community to reach its full blooming potential, just as we need each other to grow, be supported and heal together. This painting was also inspired by the poet Rumi who wrote, ‘we came whirling out of nothingness, scattering stars like dust… the stars made a circle, and in the middle, we dance.’ “