Saturday, 22 August 2009

Fly with the Cage

Art Exhibition Showcasing Artists Inspired by The Recent Iranian Movement

"If you can't fly out of the cage, Fly with the Cage" - Sufi Proverb

The introduction to this event reads:
In an attempt to draw attention to the recent events in Iran, this exhibition brings together artists to tell the stories of Iranian people. The exhibition aims to provide an opportunity for artists to convey their concerns through the unique medium of art, as an alternative way of expression.
The occasion is intended to unite artists and extend public awareness of the current crisis in Iran. Works to be featured include performance arts, music, poetry-readings, paintings, photography, documentary films and much more from around the world. In addition, there will be panel discussions on the state of the artistic community in Iran.

Leyla Mostafavi, along with Peyman Soheili and Levon Haftvan are among the organizers of this event. “The recent violence in Iran has affected a variety of people, including the artistic community. As a result, many intellectuals inside the country have been jailed or silenced.” She said.
Leyla believes that widespread censorship in Iran has made it extremely difficult for the citizens of the country to communicate their message to the rest of the world. It is of great importance to have Iranian artists from all countries submit their works to represent the growing amount of silenced voices inside Iran. The exhibition will be a rare opportunity for everyone to exchange, enjoy, and inspire from artistic and intellectual freedom.
“Since art is a universal language, we wanted artists from all around the world to submit works and tell the stories of the Iranian people through the medium of art.”

Sources: Salam Toronto: 'Beauty overcomes brutality' & Fly with the Cage Exhibition

Representation of Women in Iranian Art

Representation of Women in Iranian Art
Aida Foroutan Artist and Independent Scholar (University of Manchester, England)

I approach the subject of the representation of women in Iranian art both as a working artist and as an academic art historian having obtained my doctorate with a PhD thesis in Art History. As a working artist I have already a large body of work, some of which speaks directly to the question of how the life of women is observed and expressed in Iran. One of the main components of this part of my work is a series of 28 paintings Zendegi-ye Zanān `Women's Life', which portrays aspects of the struggle for women's rights in Iran. This series is painted in a Surrealist style, in oils, on canvas. My main inspiration for this series of works was the struggle of Iranian women to achieve their social and national freedom through their human rights as women being incorporated into the Iranian National Constitution. My work was to reflect this process and was based on a longstanding research project on the social aspects of women's lives. The research was carried out by looking at Iranian women from different angles and at different stages of their lives, provided by personal stories and observations of commonly understood experiences. Each of the paintings was an element in the drama of the life of women in Iran, from birth and giving birth, to bereavement and death. I also tried to look at women's lives outside Iran, and to find commonalities with what women experience all around the world. This I try to achieve through a visual language of signs and symbols that is internationally recognised as denoting feminine meanings.

As part of this work, I came to reflect on the possibilities and limits of the surrealist genre of art and literature as a medium of expression of social and cultural issues. This strong interest led me in recent years towards a doctoral research project to discover the roots and relevance of Surrealism in Iran. I worked with one of the world's foremost experts on Western Surrealism, David Lomas, at the University of Manchester. My intention has been to discover how surrealist styles and techniques are used in Iran in modernity and post-modernity, what is their importance, and also, crucially for the history of Surrealism, to make a case that for centuries a ‘proto-Surrealist’ style and strategy has been present in Persian/Iranian art and literature. This proto-Surrealism has acted, as Surrealist art continues to do in contemporary Iranian culture, as a subversive channel of expression and comment in a society where censorship and suppression of the artist and writer have always been present.  


19- Search


Related Link: Women's Life

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Forbidden Peace

Foroutan, Aida. Forbidden Peace, A Long Poem in English, Published by Alfabet Maxima, Stockholm, Sweden
2003. - 79 s. ; 15 x 21 cm. ISBN 91-974418-4-8

Forbidden Peace is the story of the struggles, thoughts and perspectives of a child growing up in a climate of war: a child who, in spite of his own wishes, ideals and natural human desires, has to give in to the status quo. Yet he never for a moment stops believing in life and survival – in fact it makes him all the more determined to create a better world.

Forbidden Peace is a long poem written in a particular time frame. It opens in the voice of a mature man who has become exhausted by his struggles yet who still tries to continue his life journey, reflecting and speaking of his old dreams and the present reality. The narrator revisits his childhood, referring his questions to a ‘Mother’, who is someone who represents secure growth, pride and many other meanings. He tries to fathom out the words, and in doing so the very presence of the words, and other words which scarcely have any meaning left today, is juxtaposed with ‘Mother’ and ‘World Mother’. Having endured war and come to believe in death, he is determined to experience life – even though the conditions of life and survival are very hostile. He takes himself to another part of the world, and faces problems of a very different nature. The child has now come of age, yet he still continues with the questions of his childhood, even though he knows that there are no more answers to his questions. There are many words in many languages, for common concepts which are abandoned and deserted – a problem for all who are émigrés and in exile – and many words for what he has experienced, which have made him a weaker creature, in spite of his own strong being, because of his ignorance of those languages. He cannot blame anyone. He can only blame himself, realising that he has struggled in vain to create a world full of love and freedom. The final chapter addresses the future, in which the narrator paints a picture of the ideal world of his cherished beliefs, where his true home lies, a world beyond convention, where peace is not forbidden.