Iranian art in Dubai

Afshin Pirhashemi explores the role of women in Iranian society

The First Timer
‘I try to express a scrutiny about women in social and psychological terms, and I also try to add my own point of view. This is about the reaction and curiosity of young women. They are smarter and have more knowledge inside them, but they act suppressed.’
The First Timer
‘I try to express a scrutiny about women in social and psychological terms, and I also try to add my own point of view. This is about the reaction and curiosity of young women. They are smarter and have more knowledge inside them, but they act suppressed.’
I Am Lost In God
‘In some of the works I used a gun as a symbol of power for women. Here I used some writings which are not readable, to express a vagueness. This creates the visual beauty of the work.’
I Am Lost In God
‘In some of the works I used a gun as a symbol of power for women. Here I used some writings which are not readable, to express a vagueness. This creates the visual beauty of the work.’
Lonely
‘My wife Fatima and I separated after 15 years. After our conversations about divorce, I became aware that society’s point of view of us is like this painting.’
Lonely
‘My wife Fatima and I separated after 15 years. After our conversations about divorce, I became aware that society’s point of view of us is like this painting.’
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Many artists find inspiration in painful experiences. Yet there are only a handful who have the strength to display them to the public. Rising Tehran-based artist Afshin Pirhashemi is one of the latter. His latest collection, entitled ‘The Wrong Women’, explores the dark, deviant and often under-represented side of women in contemporary Iranian society.

The almost violent, comic-like works shed light on the personal life of the 39-year-old artist, namely his divorce from his wife of 15 years in 2012. ‘In two works I used fantasy elements to express the theme better, but it’s not a usual routine of my work,’ he says.

So how does he deal with such controversial subject matter in a conservative society? He explains it’s a case of what they don’t know won’t hurt them. ‘As long as I don’t show my works in Iran, they cannot provoke me, just like a woman who takes her scarf off when she leaves the country,’ says Pirhashemi.

The artworks incorporate symbols of the duality of Iranian society. Pirhashemi says the three-piece ‘Lonely’ (pictured below) is particularly telling: the left panel depicts a property with an open gate, the central panel a stern female figure and the third a solitary Doberman Pinscher – perhaps a symbolic representation of himself. Here, he explains more about his works.

The lowdown

Exhibition: ‘The Wrong Women’ until April 24 at Ayyam Gallery, Gate Village 3, DIFC (04 439 2395).
Artist: Afshin Pirhashemi.
Price range: From Dhs165,000.

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