Politics meet Art in a new exhibition of works by ten Iranian artists living and working in the Islamic Republic today.
Echoes in Blue provides a vibrant and thought-provoking view of life within the boundaries of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Curated by Iranian-born Homa Taraji, in association with Dr. Alireza Sami Azar, former director of Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art and a consultant to Christie’s, this show features ten contemporary Iranian artists and is intended to introduce their work to an American audience.
Though the Iranian government requires that artists refrain from topics like religion and politics, Echoes in Blue clearly reflects the life struggles that exist in the long-lasting revolutionary state. The title is from a poem by an Iranian woman poet Forough Farrokhzad (1935-1967) in which she reminisces about the echoes of blue in Isfahan, an historic Iranian city with hundreds of buildings and mosques built primarily in blues tile.Â The poem, like the exhibition, is a reflection of Iranian culture.
While topics touching on religion and politics are prohibited by the Iranian government, the works in this exhibition reflect the poignant life struggles that exist on a daily basis in the long-lasting, revolutionary Islamic Republic.Â The themes of the painting include portrayals of characters with no identity, ruins of historical buildings which were once symbols of Iranian heritage – lamentably, now slated for destruction per Islamic law – and images of ordinary people in a state of ennui and perpetual waiting.
“The timing is right to bring contemporary Iranian art to the attention of an international audience to demonstrate that despite the repression of women and art, Iranian artists of both genders have flourished.” said Homa Taraji.
There are many other beautiful abstract and modern pieces in this exhibition, which reflect the texture of this rich culture and the existential challenges of life in Iran.
Artists featured in Echoes in Blue include:
Hossein Khosrojerdi, who participated in the Venice Biennial in 2003, portrays characters with no identity, struggling to maintain their Persian identity in contradiction with the imposed Islamic System.
Amirhossein Zanajni depicts the ruins of once spectacular historical buildings, symbols of Iranian heritage, which has been subject to destruction by the imposition of strict Islamic rules.
Ahmad Morshedloo captures ordinary people in what seems to be an eternal “waiting” mode; given up, indifferent, and bored; filled with ennui, they are just “waiting.”
Echoes in Blue is organized and curated by Homa Taraji, co-founder and Executive Director of The American Foundation for Contemporary Iranian Art, a non-profit organization for the promotion of contemporary Iranian art in the U.S. Over the years, Ms. Taraji has established working relationships with art dealers and galleries in Tehran and a broad base of artists whose work she represents in the U.S.
In parallel with the arts, Ms. Taraji is a senior engineer at the Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, CA, where she develops and manages domestic and international customers for space systems technology. Ms Taraji, also enjoyed a similar and highly successful exhibition in Los Angeles in 2002.Â She”™s returned to LA with this display of art from her homeland and fellow artists.
Echoes in Blue is on view from October 16 through November 14, 2010.
The James Gray Gallery at Bergamot Station
2525 Michigan Avenue, #D4,
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Tuesday through Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.,
Sunday 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.,
Mondays by appointment.
Report by Pauline Adamek