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Tehran Art Scene

10/17/03 By Syma Sayyah, Tehran

Tehran art circle comes, more or less, to a standstill when July arrives. Most galleries are closed except for a very few, and even those do not put on their major exhibitions during the summer. The exception may be Golestan gallery's annual "100 works by 100 Artist." This is one of the most entertaining cultural events that you can go to, if you happen to be in Tehran in August. Now the autumn is here and all of the galleries have put on at least one show already.

It is interesting that, whether we are talking about painting, graphic works or even sculpture, the male/female ratio is increasing higher for women artists. It is widely believed that since emotional oppression has been stronger on women, they need to find an outlet to express themselves.

Mahin Loftmohammadi and her works
Photos: Syma Sayyah

I was lucky to view works of two ladies this week. They are both in their thirties. The first exhibition was paintings by Mahin Loftmohammadi on display at Aria Gallery. She came across as a very determined woman and mother. Mahin has studied at Alzahra University, and pervious to this had held several joint exhibitions with other artists. She had previously done many pottery works. This painting exhibition, at newly decorated and spacious Aria Gallery, was her first solo exhibition. I must admit that ever since I had received the invitation card I really wanted to see her works. The card which had one of her paintings on it had impressed me greatly.

Her work and her choice of colors reminded me of South American and Latin paintings. I was not disappointed. I found the show most rewarding and interesting. Overall, as you may note from the pictures enclosed, her works are very strong and quite colorful, yet I did not find them jolly and gay. Each had a name that included Abou, Khatoun, Mitra, Pardis, Viss, Raga and so on. Each painting wanted to tell a story, without saying anything. Some succeeded and were able to speak to us. If she continues to work so well and manages to bring her characters, male or female to speak, I am sure only more and greater success will be her destination.

Maryam Shirinlou and her works
Photos: Syma Sayyah

The other exhibition I went to was works by Maryam Shirinlou at Golestan gallery. She seemed to be to be a warm yet shy lady. She had studied Painting and graphic in Los Angeles. She came back to Iran some 12 years ago, and has been busy working ever since. She had held several joint and solo exhibitions in the past, and not only each time her work may have had a different theme but also a different content. This time she had gone for painting and soothing, and at times roughly managed to blend paint with poetry and or simple writing texts. The base of her color were black & white and gold. She told me that she felt these colors and they represented her mood. The Persian poems that she has used from here and there were mostly spiritual (Erfanni).

Maryam Shirinlou's exhibition
Photos: Syma Sayyah

I found her work interesting mainly because it blended modern painting style and old settings, a nice blend of east and west one may say. Since a picture speaks a thousand words, I kindly ask you to please draw your own conclusion.

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