When Iran went pop!


Pop Art, a set on Flickr.

This pop Art series is in fact a single conceptual work of Art disguised as a Pop Art Series. The images are from found images that were manipulated to represent an aspect of the state of the Iranian society before the revolution and I have used the word pop as a pun for the country blowing up into that revolution. Just as important as the image is the title. The title is a single lined comment or if you like a poem that captures the essence of the social message, and in some cases it simply represent the mood that existed in lyrics and the spirit of the people of the time. a people so different from today that one can image that it was a lost nation .

Minimalist design Of Iranian TV, Cinema and Radio

daee-jan-napoleanmorad-barghishabakeh sefrsultan saheb gharantalkh o shirintalagh
rangarangpahlavan_nayebradio daryagolhakaaf_showjomeh_bazar

Minimalist design, a set on Flickr.

Now that I have finished the series, here they are in one place.

Yek Esfahani Dar New York ( A Esfahani in NY)

yekisfahanidarny by doodle_juice
yekisfahanidarny, a photo by doodle_juice on Flickr.

Esfahan is one of the major cities in Iran. The stereotype of Esfahanies is that of someone famous for being witty, shrewd business person, rather conservative but fun loving people. Esfahan was the capital during the Safavid Dynasty 500 years ago and the foundation of Shiite Iran was set in that city. Because of a long tradition of businness families the people and their roots in tradition often go back a long way. In this comedy series which were a similar to the carry-on British series two prominent Esfahani actors i.e. Arham Sadr and Vahdat brought their stage comedy characters into a series of light comedies. For this poster I used a single misplaced tile against a New York Art Deco design similar to the Sky scrapers but with an Islamic tower to represent the displacement of the main character in NY.

Iran-dokht liberty

liberty by doodle_juice
liberty, a photo by doodle_juice on Flickr.

The fate of liberty is certainly internationally intertwined so somehow this image came to my mind and I decided to make this work.

Mehdi Meshki va Shalvarak dagh (Mehdi the black and the red hot pants)

Mehdi Meshki va Shalvarak dagh by doodle_juice
Mehdi Meshki va Shalvarak dagh, a photo by doodle_juice on Flickr.

A commercial close to grind-house films. These were made in big batches for the general public. They had a mix bag of comedy, family honour, romance and light hearted violence. naser malek motihi who was the lead role usually played these tough guy, man of the neighbourhood type characters but later proved to be a serious competent actor in some of Iran’s classic films.

Raz Derakht Senjed (The mystery of the Russian olive tree)

Raz Derakht Senjed by doodle_juice
Raz Derakht Senjed, a photo by doodle_juice on Flickr.

This was a commercial comedy starring the popular actor Fardin. It was a situation comedy in which a tree “Russian olive tree” had mystical romance powers. Fardin played in many of such films. this category of films were very close to style of Bollywood Cinema i.e. a variety of comedy mixed with song and dance. Although the name of the tree in the west suggests a Russian origin, it is actually a common tree in Iranian culture and its fruit has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years.


sootedelan by doodle_juice
sootedelan, a photo by doodle_juice on Flickr.

Directed by Ali Hatami, staring Behrouz Vosoughi and Shohreh Aghdashlou and Jamshid Mashayekhi.
A wonderful emotional film about a mentally disabled man who finds genuine love with young beautiful prostitute.

The characters found solace in each other’s company and together they relived a lost childhood. They liked to make and place toy windmills in flower pots and I chose that for the Art work.

This was the film that introduced Shohreh Aghdashlou as a new young talent. The film was unique for its story line and was very much in line with poetic allegories used in Iranian Cinema. Later in post-revolution times i.e. the 80s I was fortunate enough to meet Shohreh Aghdashlou. As a young student I was living within a community of Artists in East end of London and at the time she along her husband Hooshang Touzi were trying to rejuvenate their acting and theatre directing careers and needed actors. Unfortunately I wasn’t in that particular play. I had a nice cup of tea with her at home and watched their rehearsals. She later became an Oscar nominee for Best supporting actress in “House of Sand and fog”.


dashakol by doodle_juice
dashakol, a photo by doodle_juice on Flickr.

Based on a Novella by Sadegh Hedayat who was Iran’s most prominent modernist writer. The film stayed mostly faithful to the fiction but had some adaptations. This was a story of a middle aged respected figure who is left as a trustee of a friend’s estate, as well as the guardianship of the daughter of the deceased. He falls for the young woman but because of honour fulfils his role as a godfather and arranges her marriage but the fire of love torments him and he starts drinking to sooth his pain. His only companion is a parrot that hears his love confessions.
It was well acted by Iran’s most notable male actor behrooz vosooghi and one of the great directors Masoud Kimiai

My Quadrophenia encounter

quadrophenia by doodle_juice
quadrophenia, a photo by doodle_juice on Flickr.

Ending up as a kid in Margate, and later Ramsgate was an accident of fate for me.
The new oil rich middle-class Iranians of the time that included my family had started this new craze of sending their kids abroad to study. No one questioned the wisdom of sending a 13 year old, with loads of cash thousands of miles away! Still I’m glad they did because I am as proud as my British acquired culture as my Iranian side. Iranian kids in Margate were into disco, they had fun with the local girls but did not come out of their cultural bubble and many stayed as well-off foreign tourists until things changed and their money ran out. I was a bit different, for one thing after a year in Margate I went to a boarding school in Ramsgate. It was the last years of the battle between between Mods and Rockers which took place in that area every summer. Anyway I used to go to Cinema on weekends and along films like Monty Python’s Holy Grail, there were one or two films that influenced me. One was Tommy which I saw in 1978, and the other was Quadrophenia in 1979. By that time being depressed in a strange school I sympathised with Jimmy the main character who led a double life of working in a post room during the week and a mod during the weekend. Besides like him I wanted a girlfriend that looked like Leslie Ash. Flash forward a decade, I was a University student working in a summer job near Edgware Road, and one day during a lunch time I went for a walk, and behold who was sitting outside on the corner of the road just outside the Rank recording studio in a vest and drinking a can of Tenants special brew? It was Paul Weller, I looked and hesitated should I go and get an autograph, didn’t have a bloody pen and paper, so gave a glance of recognition and moved on, leaving him in peace. Move forward in time to the previous weekend, I was in Cambridge going off to get petrol for the lawn mower and I bump into a group of mods in their middle age with their teenage kids going off to a mod gathering. I couldn’t resist a chat and I thought it was pretty cool that they kept their enthusiasm alive. Then going off to the Cambridge market I bumped into another group of them. Its funny I grew up with these things but if I talk to fellow Brits they take one look at my middle eastern face and I come across as foreign as a Japanese tourist in a Los Vegas Elvis convention!

Aghay Haloo (The simpleton)

aghay haloo by doodle_juice
aghay haloo, a photo by doodle_juice on Flickr.

Translated as Mr Simpleton, this was an early Iranian new wave cinema and a black comedy. Played by Art cinema and theatre actor Ali Nassirian, the film was made by Darius Mahrjoobi who made Ghav ( The cow) and by doing so started the new wave cinema of Iran. The story is about a man who travels from a city to the Capital to find a suitable wife, and when his luggage is stolen he meets and falls for a girl who later gets him into questionable financial transactions, and turns out to be a working girl in what seems like a brothel. Heartbroken the man who is beaten up by the girl’s pimp/boyfriend returns home. The film represented the cultural gap that had emerged between traditional and modern Iran.Nassirian played in many films that dealt with this theme and other social issues such as the gap between classes and the rich and the poor. To make this poster I used question marks to represent his lack of knowledge and gullibility, I used them to make a flower bouquet to represent his questionable tactic of searching for romance.

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