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Male Artists in Tehran

By Syma Sayyah, Tehran


I have an internal sense of fairness within, and whenever I deviate from being fairness or balanced, alarm bells go off to warn me and make me correct my way(s). The alarms went off recently telling me that so many of my gallery visits showed art works done by women! It is true more women work as painters these days.  It is also true that since women in this society face more challenges, their work becomes more interesting, as individuals and as a group, to observe and note the development of their work within newfound self-expressions. Nevertheless, no doubt, there are many talented men artists who are just as good and appealing to observe, at least as individuals, in the art scene here. So this time, I made sure that I went to two exhibitions by modern male painters; and here is the summery of my visits.


The first show, at Elahe Art gallery, was by Ahmad Khalilifard. I actually had the pleasure to meet the painter during my visit. Mr. Khalilifard is a Kurdish artist and along with other artists of his generation and province, most of whom mainly stay in Sanadaj -capital of Kurdestan Province - have set up a new School titled 'Maktab-e Kurdistan' or ' Kurdish  Style-School.' Mr. Khalilifard recently succeeded in winning the bronze Medal in Paris Triennial (2002) competition. He has participated in many private and group exhibitions with his works. He is member of Painter Group +30 and a member of Painters Institute, and he teaches at universities in Tehran. He is in his 30s and seemed very confident and modestly self-assured.




Most of Khalilifard's painting were square in shape, which to me expresses a sense of order and good 'coolness' despite the passion therein. The pictures portrayed figures, male and female.  Generally, I found his male figures more artistic and expressive. I definitely saw a new approach, soft and humane, yet starting to be loud and noticeable. Above all, I found his work new and they, almost, spoke to me; each told me a different story, which I found most fascinating. A few of his pictures are included here. For more details, I suggest that you check the gallery's web site at .  I would suggest that if his works come near your way do make sure to go and see them.  For me Mr. Khalilifard is one of the artists that I would go and see in years to come, as I am sure that I shall find new breakthrough to show that softness is actually a sign of strength and power.



The second artist I went to see was Mr. Amir Abbassi at Banafsheh gallery. He is also an art teacher at Tehran universities. I was unable to meet him on the day that I went there, but I enjoyed seeing the many different works that he had displayed at this exhibition.



There was a significant difference between the paintings there. Some used too much black oil paint and some used too much bright color paints.  Nevertheless, what I found universal there was that too much paint used, which to me speaks of heavy heart.  To be perfectly honest, I found the works disturbing. Although I found some of them rather interesting, I must admit that in my opinion they were too grave for my taste. Heavy with pain and full of secrets that are not being allowed to come out and open up a passage for air.




The works were noticeable, but like so many other artists, particularly the male artists, they came to me as the same old thing, a human in deep pain and suffering. I guess what I want to find or feel when I look at these works is why there are sufferings? What is the cause of the pain? There among the works, I did not find any which could give any such answers.


You may of course draw your own conclusions from the works shown here.



... Payvand News - 12/18/03 ... --

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