Since the mid-1980s, New York–based Iranian artist Y.Z. Kami has focused on the portrait's expressive possibilities. Having studied philosophy at U.C. Berkeley and the Sorbonne, Kami draws on Eastern and Western mystical and aesthetic traditions such as Sufi poetry, figure painting, and Egyptian funerary portraiture to explore the relationship between outward form and inner spirit. His large-scale paintings of introspective figures project a meditative monumentality. "Endless Prayers" (2007), a suite of 24 mixed-media collages on paper, uses Persian, Arabic, and Hebrew texts arranged in circles to recall the ritual of prayer and the mosaics of sacred architecture.