Yasmin Sinai uses recycled paper and cardboard to make expressive sculptures. The Act of Gordafarid The Female Warrior, is the name of a collection of her latest work which are inspired by the Iranian female warrior of Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh (Book of Kings). Sinai tells the story of Gordafarid as a leader, warrior, daughter, partner and mother through a sequence of sculptures with the heroine in various settings. She explains: “Gordafarid fought bravely against the mighty hero Sohrab to protect her father’s castle, earning his respect, and becoming a symbol of courage and wisdom for Iranian women. I want to present this ancient legend in a contemporary context by depicting Gordafarid as a modern-day warrior — a woman who plays many roles in society, and fights for her right to pursue her dreams and desires. This show is about the theatre of life, and the many facets of the 21st century woman warrior.”
A group of Shahpour Pouyan’s ceramic sculptures are studies and variations of a same theme—architecture. His small-scale recreations of domes, buildings and towers in many configurations and forms mimic the main characteristics of the world’s various styles of architecture which signify power and wealth. Few years ago after taking a genetic test, Pouyan’s DNA traced his ancestors and linked him to thirty-three countries which made him explore his identity by creating thirty-three dome structures that would signify each country. By focusing on the domes and detaching them from the rest of the constructions he drew the attention to what unified all structures and was a universal form. Pouyan also states: “I love ceramics from Islamic land, they are amazingly beautiful. This is one of the reasons that I started working on domes…because they are somehow like upside down dishes.”
Ahmad Amin Nazar’s paintings are enigmatic narratives that only he can correctly unpack. In his pictorial universe children are suspended in the air, headless figures occupy spaces with authority and those with heads on their bodies have demonic features. Although his ink paintings are predominantly in shades of grey and sepia tones yet here and there a rainbow of colors or blotches of red appear which changes the mood of each image. The central subject matter for Amin Nazar is humankind’s dual nature and as he explains, “As humans we are a big bundle of ambiguities and complexities. One minute we’re full of hope and goodness and kindness, the next minute we’re bereft of all that and become so heat up and agitated that mindlessness can take over, leading us to an act of aggression or violence.”
Leila Shahhosseini’s haunting portraits are trapped in her underglaze paintings on round plates. Some of these solemn faces look at the viewer with piercing gazes, simultaneously watching you intensely and fading away. Silent and calm, they reside in a black and white state of being—void of color. The smooth and glowing surface of the glazed plates are disrupted by cracks and imperfections reminding us of their fragility. Shahhosseini lures you to start imagining possible stories for each face to make it familiar and less distant yet the more you try the more mysterious they become.
Reza Hedayat is the painter of myths. He is fascinated with the imaginative world of Iranian literature, folklore and legends which engage his unconscious mind. His art is also influenced by Persian carpets’ motifs and symbolism where he paints trees, flowers, animals and people in harmonious coexistence in color and form. Although Hedayat’s visual language is simplified, yet it narrates complex stories from the past and present. He states: “ Literature is a medium of imagination…it is about creativity and visualization…our literature is very inspirational …Shah Nameh and books by Saadi and Nezami are all great sources for the artists.”
Maryam Salour’s art is tightly related to nature and specifically to earth and clay.
She has been creating ceramic vases and meditating on the color of the glazes and slight changes in their forms consistently through the years. On a vase titled “Chahar Bagh, the Dream of Lost Paradise” a vast abstract landscape consisting of the emerald greens of the fields, turquoise of the sky and a field of red flowers unfold on the glazed surface. Her other vases titled “Poppies” are series of earthenwares covered with intense red glazes which she created after visiting Valley of Lar. She recalls: “I found myself exposed not just to a normal valley, but to a field of thousands of stunning fiery red poppies. The mesmerizing scenery that was laid out so beautifully before me, very gradually and I must say unconsciously, lifted me up and flew me into it….I can’t tell how long it took me to become myself again, but when I came back from this astonishing journey, I realized that I wasn’t standing there looking at them from above anymore, but my soul had become one of them and was amongst them; I had become a poppy.”
Since 1960s Ghobad Shiva has designed a wide array of dynamic and colorful posters for concerts, plays, art festivals, radio and television, films, exhibitions, lectures, environment, tourism and many more cultural and artistic events. He states: “I create artistic graphic design. The product of this kind of design has cultural value and only in poster design you can express your opinions like this.” Shiva’s playful posters are expensive and complex yet easy to read, follow and remember.
He explains:”Poster belongs to streets but if it is good it will reside in homes…When a poster is beautiful people want to own it and this effects their taste… If a poster is designed based on popular culture, it becomes visual poetry and goes beyond transmitting information since it beautifies the city.”
Images by: Ghobad Shiva © Written by Roshanak Keyghobadi, 2019. This text cannot be quoted, translated or published in part or as a whole without Roshanak Keyghobadi’s permission.