This one is titled “Your Love is a strange Love”. with reference to the Stanley Kubrick’s Dr Strange Love. It is a reference to destructive relationships and finally letting go of a love that is harmful.
During the years of living in Clays Lane, East London when our flat was like a centre for Artist friends, as one of many talented people we got to know Behzad.
In those days Behzad did many things. He played the setar, was good at calligraphy and also did acting.
We did a Golamreza Saedi play called “Dictation”. He was playing one of the teachers and I was the bad student made up like a tortured political prisoner. I used to do photography in those days and did a series of B&W photos for the play which still sit somewhere in my attic.
Behzad once did a big favour for me. I was the president of the Iranian society at the Metropolitan University London, I had organized a party of 200 people and we did not have a band for our Nowrooz party. Nor did he have any money. He generously came and played setar and brought someone to play tombak and livened up the event. It was a big event so he basically saved us. As my flatmates moved out and I moved out of London I lost touch with many friends but I’m glad he is doing well. Not many of us are so lucky to be doing something we love and be so good at it.
I went to see Tron (Legacy) last night. I saw the original back in 1982 and I was blown away by the 3D graphics ( so much so that I wanted to become a 3D animator, but my life took on a different path).
The film was visually beautiful but the story line wasn’t that brilliant. I guess the same could be said about Tron (Legacy). The story line is better but once again the film falls short of being a fantastic movie. The sound track by Daft Punk was good.
Technology has moved on and when you have films like the Matrix setting the bar for Si-fi, it is difficult to be dazzled by the Tron movie.
So my rating: Good and worth seeing if you are a si-fi fan but don’t expect to be blown away by it.
This is one of my favourite animations. enjoy. It isn’t my work. I wished!
I did this in an Art class ( a long time ago) . The daily work was very demanding and then I found an Art school in Southwark, London around the corner where I worked “The Art Academy”. It both saved me because it helped me to cope, but lost me because since then I can’t think of doing anything else but to go back and create something.
The Academy is very special place, it is run by professional Artists and their day courses is for those who want to become professional Artists. This particular class was run by a woman who had a top manager in one of the major investment Banks. She had become redundant went back to Art school, became an artist and a teacher. She was a true inspiration. I painted this Monet in one of my first classes. Texture of paint on a surface is something you can’t get in digital work
This is my stone baby, well carved it from breeze block actually. If I remember it was the first thing I carved.
Why family unit?
It is a critic on the way Humans become abstracted statistically by Governments. Like the way an average family used to have 2.5 children or the way war victims are called collateral damage.
I was 20 and caught between a rock and a hard place.
I had immigration problems and with a war in Iran could not risk being deported. The new established Islamic Iranian Government had spread its tentacles and used the education funds that our parents had provided as a way of controlling the political loyalty of students abroad. Suddenly we had gone from a respected community of students to a group of bad creditors, or troublesome young people living in a state of limbo. With no source of income I worked 18 hour shifts in a fast food restaurant and for a while left college. The few friends that I had were living in a similar dismal state. we looked pathetic. Cut off from society and with no family we were living an unhealthy life style of eating fast food, and sleeping rough. The rooms of my friend’s flat were littered with sleeping bags and permanent guests staying over. Perhaps congregating in one apartment and laughing at stupid things kept our moral high. That place wasn’t my flat either, I was one of the guests.
One of our friends (P.) had a phone call. His old teacher had to come to UK for medical reasons. The teacher was poor so he had borrowed money from P’s Dad.
A week later he was there, a dignified man who had dedicated his life to the education of young Iranian men and women. Amongst his pride and joy he had taught maths to Shah’s son and Khomeini’s daughter. Talk about covering all angles of fib telling I thought. There he was trying to find a little clear corner in that flat so that he could rest his bags. As for P, he didn’t care much for his old teacher. “He used to be a hard man he would say”. P wasn’t too chummy with his Dad either. His Dad was a successful business man the sort of man whose heart beat goes Kuching instead of bebop, and he could get round all these fund embargos but didn’t want to. He’d left P to fend for himself. P had worked so hard the skin of his palm had turned to Rhino skin and peeled off every night. The fast food chain would get its pound of flesh from every worker it employed and P scrubbed those grills like he was scrubbing every bit of bad luck that had hit his young life.
The next day was The teacher’s (Mr d) appointment. P was snoring in the sleeping bag like a sore bear hibernating. The rest of the gang was sleep. I still had a grain of decency left so I decided to take the old man under my wing and be his surrogate guide. I guess doing this kept me linked to a life of families, respect for elders etc. all of which at that time had become a forgotten memory from a million years ago.
I took Mr d for his blood tests etc. and took him to the park outside the hospital. I couldn’t extend my hospitality further as I was penniless.
The old man was nervous so we tried to cheer him up during the evening. He would ask questions like”so you guys have been living like this for a year?” P. would then respond by saying do you want to see some porn magazines? It gave him such pleasure to see the old man well actually he wasn’t that old he was late forties but seemed old to us then share such a naughty joy. A few years earlier who would had detention for just having those magz.
Any way, the look on Mr d’s face watching those magazines and admiring God’s creation was really funny. “I’m fourty something and I’ve never seen anything like this before. They are not wearing anything. Nothing”. P. would laugh and say well that is the whole point. Isn’t it”. There can’t be many moments in life when you would catch a decent maths teacher and his ex-student watch porn magazines together but this was one of them.
Then on Sunday we took him to a public Sauna that was in East London. He was for the first time beginning to relax but because of his medical condition was similar to the Parkinson disease his arm muscles twitched.
Monday was the big day, he was going to speak to the specialist Dr. he’d come to see.
Again I was up and P. was snoring in his sleeping bag. I shouted P. get your lazy butt out of there. You have to take Mr. d to the Dr’s today it’s his big day. He snored and rolled and went back to sleep. I took Mr d. to the Hospital. and did the translation.
The Dr. spoke and I went silent. Mr d asked OK what did he say. I’m sorry Mr d the Dr says there is no cure for your disease. “How long. How long do I have to live?” He says about six month. “Is there no-no hope, anyone else?” The Dr says there is a research going on in America but that it is early stages and to be blunt the answer is no.
Mr d was shell-shocked. He said to me or perhaps to himself “I’ve already borrowed a lot of money. What is going to happen to my wife? How is she going to survive?”.
I was pretty gutted by all this. I didn’t know how serious Mr d’s condition was, so I tried to console him the only way a 20-year-old might. I took him to Mc Donalds and bought him lunch.
His frustration was beginning to come out. “Decades of service I gave to my country, look at me now”. A guy with a pierced earing was sitting next to us and beginning to notice Mr d’s agitation. Mr d said can you translate this for me please. Tell this guy “Khomeini has destroyed our country Iran”. I felt uncomfortable about this but could not refuse a dying man’s wishes and did the translation. The man, a cockney lad tuned back and said “Khomeini. Is he Shah’s brother then?”.
I said to myself if there is a God up there he must be having a bloody laugh after what this guy just said, and translated it for Mr d, Mr d he says “he is sorry for your loss. It is tragic what has happened to Iran and he hopes things get better”.
After lunch I took him to a Park and left him on his own and watched him from a distance.
He was still trying to digest the News, and was distressed over the future of his wife.
To anyone else he looked like another man in the park, but I knew. I knew.
He went back to Iran heartbroken and six month later P. dropped the news. “Oh by the way did I tell you Mr d died?”.
I was upset for a bit then we all went back to do the same stupid things we always did to cheer ourselves up.
I’m writing this and now I’m about Mr d’s age. and I can tell you there was once a man, a teacher, who came to UK to save his life but couldn’t. went back home and died, and for me that twenty year old, he is always going to be the man I left for a moment so that he could think, he was for me as I have drawn him the man in the park.
When I was a little boy I got to see a side of women’s world that I did not get to see, well at least for a few years.
With two older sisters and five aunts, my Grand mother’s household (where I spend my 4-5th year of life) was female dominated.
I found their world very strange but fascinating. All that fuss for the hairdo, makeup and dress changes seemed irrational to a five-year old and I dare say if I spend another few life times I would not be any wiser!
I did this drawing with ink and spray can and with some influence from Paula Rego’s work who is one of my favourite artists.
Add the memory of that little boy who could still see these beautiful soft skinned creatures that smelled good in his head and you get this work.
It was a study and I didn’t take details and precision very seriously but I liked the experiment and might come back to this and do a proper painting series from it.
Majid Tavakoli an Iranian student leader who was arrested after a rousing speech at the Tehran “Amir Kabir” University, was forced by the security forces to dress up in women’s Islamic dress and appear in front of cameras.
This action initiated a campaign where in his support Iranian men wore a similar sort of thing took pictures and posted it on the internet.
The Campaign even made it to CNN. There were several things about this act of the secret service, one that they see women as lesser creatures to the point that to humiliate a man they make him look like a woman, secondly this showed their attitude towards Human rights and freedom of speech and thirdly their level of stupidity in destroying any facade of respectability for a so call Islamic regime.
I was very proud to join that campaign, dress up and post a picture. I then drew this picture ( with the help of looking at an anatomy book). It shows three men in a state of flaked skin standing strong. The message in persian “man Moharebam” refers to the label that was given to those who stood up against this regime. Pretty strong stuff, but hey that’s just a normal day for Iranians being passionate. As Omid Jalili says (in his one of his comedy sketches) “darling shall I cut off my arm to prove my love for you?”