Not mine I’m afraid but brilliant, and so good I had to post it again.
This is a triptych telling the story of a political prisoner who is incarcerated inside a small space. Constraint movement in a small space causes madness in some prisoners. He is interrogated and tortured. The white light torture or sensory deprivation torture creates disorientation hence the blurriness in the second panel in contrast to sharpness of the first panel. In the first panel the presence of bats symbolises madness and also the existence of a fundamentalist element that went unnoticed until the revolution. The third panel shows decomposing of blood into soil and a disintegration which bring more blood and taints a nation. Many are killed and buried in unmarked graves in this way.
The phrase “I have no feelings” was a quote from Ayatollah Khomeini. He was asked how he felt about going home after years of exile and he provided a response that became symbolic of his psychopathic cruelty towards his fellow Iranians. The phrase “I have no feelings” has been turned into semi-abstract Persian calligraphy, disguised, spread or sometimes visible in all three panels.
This is a work in a new school of work called DaGod. DaGod is derived from Dada but unlike Dada it is movement against the crimes of religious fundamentalism.
DaGod is my own invented Art school and there are only a few works in this style. The controversial nature of the work has resulted in one of my works from this school to be shown on CNN and VOA. The first panel has also become an Album cover of a South African band called Bipolar Rats. DaGod often carries dark artistic humour and elements of it are similar to religious iconography (in this case the golden sculpted frames which are part of the work).
Please note price is per painting rather than the 3 panels. Print of individual items is also available.
Display of my Art that is available for sale at: http://www.saatchionline.com/collections/index/owner/87591
Prints of this image are available for sale (just click it).
This image has now been on CNN, VOA and many newspaper. I made this last year and wrote an Art manifesto for a new school of Art called DaGod. DaGod as an offshoot of Dada but it protests against religious fundamentalism.
The image was taken by someone in the “Campaign for promotion of Imam Naghi” shortly after I had it published in the iranian.com web site. The group turned it to their mascot.
The explanation of this image is that it ridicules the fundamentalists who with their serial killer characteristics wear the cloak of saints ( although being an atheist I don’t think too highly of saints!).
The East Side Gallery, not to be confused with the Far Side Gallery :), is a 1.3km long section of the Berlin Wall that was left intact as an international memorial for freedom.
105 paintings by artists from all over the world were painted in 1990, shortly after the unification. Documenting a time of change and hope for a brighter future, it is possibly the largest and longest-lasting open air gallery in the world.
Based on Dante’s inferno I wrote and illustrated this small piece. The story is base on letters that you would never write and hence it is called Dead Letters.
This is also a pastiche of My name is Red.
I am the lost man, not knowing who I am or where I come from I am lost.I look at my reflection on the surface of water and see a middle-aged man I do not recognize.I see a ghostly dark forest, no path, no beginning no ending.I have no desire to move yet I must, but in which way I do not know. Have I been here, have I circled this place many times I do not know. I desire a past I do not remember. A past that never existed.
I am the she-wolf. I am the one that desires your flesh.The hunger never satisfied.The one that forced you to move.I chase you in your darkest hour.Haunt you whenever you find peace. I send you in circles till you become breathless. You see me in the shadows till you reach the end of your time. I am your fear. I am your foe yet I am your friend! You are who you are for who I am.
I am your uncle. I am the poet. The one who had it but lost it all.The envy of all others but destined for the dark abyss. I wrote poems.It was left unread when I burnt my books in my rage. I am the letter you sent to the past, somewhere where there are long carefree summers before they turned to dark winters.When as a child you held my hand, I gave you a toy gun and said, look we’ll shoot whatever monster comes your way. Follow me and leave this forest. Learn from my demise. Your home will then show its way.
I am your home land. I am the lion.Old and angry I roar in pain.You hear my roar and the sound echoes in the forest.I am the letters you write to save me. The letters in which you tore your heart caring for my children. Your love for me turns your head back but I am not the one who holds you back.
I am your faith. I am the blind childish faith that you once had.You left me here as I was. A boy standing here praying, amongst the ruins and to whom I do not know!Do not look at me, I was of no use to you then I did not make you lose nor find your way! I am the letter that you sometimes miss. It is when you ask would it not have been better?
I am your mother. I am the one who abandoned you.In time you learnt why I made my choices. Now I live in a place free from blame. When you became a man you saw me as a girl. But still seek the smell of my milk in the world and in everything that you seek. You have learnt to let go so I am not the one who holds you here.I am the letter you write for every woman you love. Each with blue eyes, or brown. Each a reflection of me.
I am the hostage taker. I am the image of you that the world sees.I am the mask of your skin.I am your “TH” becoming “T” or “D”. The foreign man who could not be trusted.The one whose language is the second language no matter what tongue you use.I lurk in your shadow but I am not holding you back.I am not you. Do not write to me. I am not you.
I am your future. I am the future of all men.Before me there is darkness.After me there is darkness.Learn to live or lose your moment. I do not hold you back. In your letter, I push you forward till you embrace me as a friend, but all in good time. All in good time!
I am love. I make you blissfully free any moment.When you are with me there is no you and I there is simply I. With me you are not in a place and you are not yourself so you are not lost. What has held you in the forest is losing the sight of me. Let go! I am the care in your beloved’s eyes. The smell of your daughter’s hair.A kiss on your bold father’s head. I am not a letter, I am not lost. I am with you always! Go from this forest and live with me!
Orientalist, a set on Flickr.
I published this article after a 2008 exhibition at the British museum. It was published in Iranian.com.
The Lure of the East exhibition at Tate Britain is currently showing paintings made by British artists of the ‘Orient’ (4th June – 31st August 2008).
In this context ‘Orient’ meant those parts of the eastern Mediterranean world, which could be accessed relatively easy, particularly after the development of steamboat and rail travel in the 1830s: Egypt, Palestine and Turkey but predominantly Muslim world that was under the Turkish Ottoman Empire coming up to our own Iranian doorstep.
According to the exhibition outline in 1970s the Palestinian-American academic Edward Said published his treatise on Orientalism, initiating a global debate over Western representations of the Middle East. For many, such representations now appeared to be a sequence of fictions serving the West’s desire for superiority and control over the East.
This debate resonates today as it did 30 years ago. The exhibition was divided under six different themes.
The Orientalist Portrait
Before 1830s private travel to Middle East for a purpose other than warfare and diplomacy was rare. Western travellers and residents assumed ‘Oriental costume’ for various reasons. Some felt safer moving incognito amongst the locals, some enjoyed the fancy dress element and there were those who had a committed solidarity with the culture of the locals.
Amongst these, there is the portrait of Robert Shirley and his wife Teresia Shirley. Robert as an envoy of Shah Abbas to the courts of Europe is wearing an impressive Persian court costume and carrying what seems to be the official diplomatic letter from Shah Abbas she is holding a pistol and pocket watch symbols of technologies Europe was providing to Persia. Teresia was a Circassian lady; Circassian women were famous for their unusual beauty, spirited and elegant and this reputation dated back to Ottoman Empire when they were taken as slave concubines in Sultan’s Harems.
There is also the portrait of James Silk Buckingham and his wife holding hands.
Buckingham was a journalist, who was an advocate of social reform such as an end into flogging used in arms forces, abolition of press-gang.
The Harem and Home
The design of domestic architecture in the Middle East was one of the most consistent motifs in British Orientalist paining.
The artists had a concern that the Orient as seen as a static world was changing under the influence of European design and town planning in places such as Egypt.
Genre and Gender
Genre painting, the depiction of everyday life, was fundamental to 19th century British art. Through such images British society was able to analyse itself, especially to reflect upon the little dramas of domestic life. But in the Middle East, so British artists complained, they felt excluded from local family life and so were compelled either to imagine life in the harem, or to focus instead upon the male-dominated public spaces of the cities they visited.
The Harem was the defining symbol of the Orient for Western Europeans. The Western view was that women were kept as chattels, imprisoned in segregated spaces, the slaves or sex-toys of their masters.
Later treatments of the Harem theme adopted less violent but still eroticised tone, imagining the Harem as a place of refined female sensuality.
Amongst these is a painting titles Leila by Frank Dicksee that shows an image of a very seductive beauty from the story of Leila and Majnun. The beauty that drove her cousin Qays mad with desire.
The Holy city
Many British travellers felt that, as Christians, they had a personal stake in the Middle East. The name of Jerusalem, a city sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims, had long been embedded in British religious, literary and political life as the symbol of a longed-for destination imbued with Biblical antiquity.
But for most artists the city was disappointingly modern.
As the balance of population of Jerusalem shifted towards a Jewish majority in the 19th Century, British visitors often looked towards the city’s Jewish communities for the future redevelopment of Palestine. An interest in Jewish life, initially sparked by the connection to the culture in which Jesus Christ had lived, often grew into a fascination with Jewish tradition for its own sake.
British artists also admired Islamic culture on its own terms.
Frequent subjects were daily prayers in the great mosques, the gathering for the annual pilgrimage of Mecca and the life long study of Quran.
The Orient in Perspective
These were mainly landscape images capturing the remarkable colours and shadows of deserts and wilderness at dawn and dusk.
The desert landscapes appearing as not so dangerous but beautiful wilderness containing places resonant with the ebb and flow of civilizations, and where night brought a particular beauty special to the region.