Saturday, November 22, 2008

Atomic IRAN!

Unfortunately, the first thing that pops into people's minds when they hear the word Iran is nuclear power. Recently, Iran has been grabbing much of the world's attention for the possession and the development of nuclear power plants.
Let's drift away from political stereotypes for a moment and concentrate on Iran, the mysterious and mesmerizing Iran.
When I think of Iran, I think of beauty and creativity. Throughout history, Persia was the melting pot of civilizations and has contributed in the creation of some of the world's most beautiful work that has ever been created. Constant wars and invasions have enabled the blend of many influences to create a rich diversity of arts, styles, and techniques. Persian art is particularly noted for its architecture and production of magnificent miniatures, although perhaps best known today for ornate Persian carpets.
A generation of artist caught in the crossfire of the Iranian Revolution have sprung to hide away from all the political misery and confided in their own canvases as means of expressing their bottled emotions. Suppression and anger usually gives birth to creativity. This is exactly what happened in the middle east and especially in Iran. Young blood started to emerge behind the ridged walls of conservative societies.

No doubt that contemporary Iranian artists nowadays are living their golden age. Thanks to the interest of western media, art galleries, collectors and auction houses who are constantly and vigorously promoting middle eastern art throughout the art world.

One of my favourite Iranian artists is Farhad Moshiri. He is one of the most celebrated artist of his generation in this region, and is best known for bold and poetic repetitions of numbers and letters in modern calligraphy on aged-like fragmented surfaces. It's amazing how his cracked surfaces are so random yet so controlled.
Some of his recent work grapples with issues of identity and reflects his attempts to point out westernism and cope with the changes in his country. It is the juxtaposition of conflicting and varying elements such as the veil and the gun that makes Iranian artists' work so compelling. Metaphors of spiritual "forbidden" subjects and violence are ever so prominent in their work.

Another artists I adore is Ramin Haerizadeh. His photographic work is so controversial and like no other. In his 'Men of Allah' series, he sarcastically depicts semi-naked cross-dressed bearded men who are cheerful and dressed in joyous colors. While the dark background and gruesome torsos and body parts might suggest depressive conditions, which makes the image playfully contradicts itself. He might be also hinting to secret sexual desires due to the position of the figures. The artist's mischievous irony and comical approach makes his work appeal more friendly than horrid.
The visual language of such art depict how these new talents are breaking away the traditional moulds in creating art that challenges their everyday ideologies and social norm. BRAVO!

p.s. Artists mentioned live and work in Iran.

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