By Rose Miller, Assistant Editor
Nahid Fekri-Dalpour has taken thousands of pictures of the moon. The longtime Wilton resident will be opening her home this fall for three exhibitions showcasing her extensive collection of striking photographs along with home-cooked food from her native Iran, starting October 22. But the moon is not merely an artistic muse for Fekri-Dalpour. Just as beautiful as her photos, is the heartfelt story behind them.
Among the half-completed displays on Fekri-Dalpour’s sunporch, sits a framed photograph of her mother. “I’m going to leave that one picture there with the moon pictures because it’s for her,” she said of the upcoming gallery.
It was Fekri-Dalpour’s mother that introduced her to the moon. “I always say that–and my kids they don’t like it,” she smiled, “I am not a photographer. I love to take pictures of the moon because I love the moon, and the reason for that is my mom.”
Fekri-Dalpour fondly recalled summer nights as a child in Iran when her family would sleep on the flat rooftops and she and her younger brother would wait each night for their mother to bring them up and tell them stories. “So every summer, every night, when we were going to sleep—my mom was taking the two of us up to the rooftop and she was saying to us stories about the moon,” she laughed lightly, “the man in the moon, the rabbit in the moon.”
Those shared memories and fondness of the moon followed Fekri-Dalpour into adulthood when she left her family to come to America in 1983. “I was so sad because I was leaving her, leaving Iran, and at the airport she came to me and she hugged me and said ‘remember that whenever you are looking at the moon, wherever you are, remember that I am looking at the same moon, so we are together.”
It was after her mother passed away that she began taking photographs. “Whenever I was looking at the moon, it was reminding me of my mom, so I started to take pictures,” said Fekri-Dalpour. Whenever the moon is out she takes some shots from her driveway, and after many years, her photos have added up considerably. “I have over two or three thousand pictures,” she said.
While it’s always something she’s enjoyed for herself, she’s been happy to have opportunities in the past few years to share her passion with others. In recent years she’s had a few showcases at Emery Community Art Center and other locations where she’s displayed her photos and made some sales, but when her daughter suggested she do a show at home, Fekri-Dalpour loved the idea.
The photos will be arranged on her cozy sunporch, where many of her pictures are already lining tables and hanging in columns from simple wooden easels Fekri-Dalpour designed and made herself.
In addition to other refreshments she’s also making Baklava, an Iranian dessert, to share with visitors, as well as hot tea for the likely chilly show dates. Students and community members can save the date for Fekri-Dalpour’s first show on Oct. 22. Doors are open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at 48 High Street in Wilton.
UMF senior Courtney Fowler has been assisting with publicizing the event. Fowler, who has helped design fliers and invitations for the show, had nothing but good things to say about Fekri-Dalpour and her upcoming gallery.
“She is remarkably talented,” said Fowler, describing Fekri-Dalpour’s many artistic abilities. “She makes beautiful woven bags from Iranian fabric, she paints breathtaking images, she takes the moon pictures, of course” Fowler continued, “she’s amazing.” A few of Fekri-Dalpour’s bags will be displayed at the gallery as well.
“It is open to the public,” Fowler said of the showcase, “Everyone is welcome to come. Nahid will be cooking Iranian food for the event too, and I know it will be a lovely day.” In addition to Fowler’s help, Fekri-Dalpour’s daughter will be assisting with the refreshments.
Following the first show in October, Fekri-Dalpour will be hosting another on Nov 19, also from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. She would like to hold one in December, but it will be dependent on the weather.
When she’s not busy with her artistic endeavors or her career as a real estate agent in Wilton, Fekri-Dalpour can also be found on campus visiting classrooms to speak about Iranian culture. She is also married to UMF Business professor Waleck Dalpour.
Fekri-Dalpour’s is also making arrangements for futures displays at a restaurant in Lewiston and the library in Weld next spring.
“I’d love to find other places because until now, I’ve been enjoying them, I know it’s just my passion to take pictures of the moon, I love it, but a lot of people it doesn’t mean anything to them, but I’m doing this for my mom, especially at home,” she said of her current show. ”This time I want to do this just for my mom.”