Take a sneak peak at the work of young Iranian artists exhibiting in Dubai
Niyaz Azadikhah, 26
This fascinating young animation artist’s work uses graphic, almost illusory and often tessellating imagery of women in chadors emerging as static shapes from mosaic-like patterns. The animation may make a point about the internal desires of Iranian women to break free of imposed uniforms, or perhaps about uniformity more generally. In ‘Refugee’, looming trees made up of obscured women and adorned with prayer-bead flowers stare over one lone woman.
Mona Hakimi-Schüller, 33
Berlin-based artist Hakimi-Schüller’s installation, ‘Helden-taten’ (which roughly translates as ‘Heroic Deeds’), displays a peaceful fallen lion lying in front of storybook-like paintings and drawings. The latter are inspired by, and in part depict, the Tehran riots of 2009, which resulted in the deaths of between 30 and 80 people, depending on which report you read. The lion, an animal that carries cross-cultural connotations of pride, loyalty and strength (and once appeared in the Iranian flag, before being replaced by the word Allah) also appears throughout the drawings, either smiling gently at the protesters or meekly roaring at the army.
Iman Raad, 25
This young, self-taught graphic designer brings together a wry, satirical eye with elements of Iranian folk tapestry. In this work, entitled and enscribed with ‘Our Cow Doesn’t Milk But P*sses Plenty’ (an Iranian proverb), bold, modern colours sit alongside traditional floral motifs and intentionally clumsy calligraphy; then, as surprising as it is entertaining, you’ll find a cow hovering in the top left-hand corner sticking its tongue out. The artist wants the mood of the work to be both sad and funny, but says he wouldn’t be able to show it in Iran because of its similarity to a religious poster.
Farrokh Mahdavi, 41
This artist’s visceral, uncompromising paintings go straight to the heart (excuse the pun). The thickly laid, almost 3D canvases depict scarified and desecrated hearts that have been attacked by the artist’s knife, making the process one of careful creation as well as destructive aggression. While gruesome and uncomfortable, the works are also very rich and alive.