by Paul McLoughlin, Brownbook
As one of the best representatives of Iranian art outside the country, Etemad Gallery Dubai continues to push the envelope in promoting emerging Persian artists. Etemad’s latest exhibition is testament to this, bringing together some of Iran’s brightest young artists in Dubai through a mixed media display entitled mise–en–scène.
The exhibition includes the work of contemporary artists such as Ghazaleh Avarzamani, Pedram Baldari, Mostafa Choobtarash, Elnaz Farajollahi, Arash Fesharaki and Farniyaz Zaker combining painting, photography, sculpture and film. Subjects often deal with contemporary issues through traditional modes of expression such as Choobtarash’s pop art-inspired paintings that references Persian folk tales. Jareh Das from Etemad Gallery Dubai says of the exhibition, ‘mise–en–scène brings together the works of emerging artists from Iran, showcasing the diverse practices, influences and approaches adopted by a new generation of Iranian artists.’
Etemad Gallery is situated in the discreet art enclave of Al Serkal Avenue in Dubai’s Al Quoz industrial zone. Through mise–en–scène, art lovers in the emirate have the chance to connect with the gallery’s bigger brother in Tehran. ‘It really came about through conversations our gallery director, Amir Etemad had with a lot of the artists living and working in Iran,’ Das explains, ‘some who have showed at Etemad’s Tehran space.’
It is a beneficial arrangement for both parties, and reflects well on the continued cultural exchange between the two countries, with the UAE being one of the biggest markets for Iranian art, globally. Das points out, ‘Dubai gives the artists an international platform as these are a group of artists gaining prominence in the region and beyond as well as showcases a lot of art that hasn’t been seen outside of Iran.’
‘There is a real mix of artists, some of which are based outside of Iran, but influenced by their homeland which is evident in some of the works like Farnyaz Zaker’s film, Puppet Behind the Curtain, Puppet Behind the Window.’ The work takes its inspiration from a Sadegh Hedayat story that is worked to fit a contemporary context through film. The stark work captures the immolation of the artist’s passport photos on a gas cooker.
The Oxford-based artist, Zaker, explains, ‘My work tries to hint at similarities between the discourses about female beauty in various cultures. It hopes to ask questions about the reduction of women to their appearance and about their objectification. My video juxtaposes two images which, in fact, are part of the same discourse.’ Discourse is at the heart of this exhibition and serves as another bridge between Iran and Dubai’s artistic communities.