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Art For Peace and Iran-West Amity: "Isfahan Matisse" Painting

By Gideon Polya, MWC News, Australia

IRAN is a remarkable country in that, part from inevitable border conflicts, it has not seriously invaded any other country for the best part of 2  millennia. Conversely, over the last 14 centuries it has been invaded by Arabs (641 AD), Mongols (1258), Portuguese in coastal areas (16th - 17th centuries), Russians (from 1722 onwards), Afghans (18th century), Russia (19th century), and Russia and Britain (20th centuries). The US got into the act with the 1953 US-backed overthrow of democratic rule (after Prime Minister Mossadegh's attempted nationalization of Anglo-Iranian oil), the installation of the Shah's dictatorship, the US-backed Iraqi  invasion in 1980 and the subsequent 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war that killed millions of Iranians (1.5 million war dead; 1980-1988 excess deaths in the country as a whole total 2.1 million).


"Isfahan Matisse" by Gideon Polya (click here to see full size)


Now Iran faces the horrendous prospect of a possibly TERMINAL nuclear cataclysm as the US backs Baluchi terrorists in South Eastern Iran, advances its nuclear-armed aircraft carriers into positions off the Iranian coast and the Americans and Israelis advance their virulent, war-mongering anti-Iranian rhetoric. Thus simple Google Searches for the utterly obscene phrases "nuke Iran" and "attack Iran" today yield 132,000 and 695,000 URLs, respectively.  Reports from authoritative media such as the BBC, The New Statesman and Global Research indicate that the Americans and Israelis may be ready to unleash NUCLEAR war on this peaceful, remote, non-aggressive country of 71 million people.

The human consequences of an invasion and occupation of Iran (population 71 million) can be roughly estimated by PROPORTIONALITY from what the Racist Bushites (RBs) and Racist Zionists (RBs) have done to Palestine (population 3.8 million), Iraq (population 27 million) and Afghanistan (population 26 million).  The post invasion excess deaths (avoidable deaths, deaths that did not have to happen) in the Occupied Palestinian, Iraqi and Afghan Territories now (May 2007) total 0.3 million, 1.0 million and 2.4 million (mostly Women and Children and due to gross Occupier violation of the Geneva Convention that demands that occupiers keep their conquered subjects alive); post-invasion under-5 infant deaths total 0.2 million, 0.5 million and 1.9 million, respectively (90% of these deaths being avoidable); and there is a  refugee nightmare of  4.3 million Palestinians registered with the UN, 4 million Iraqi refugees (half of whom have fled their country) and 3.7 million Afghan refugees (see MWC News and here ).

However the human consequences for Iran - and indeed its neighbours - from a NUCLEAR attack by Israel or America will be utterly disastrous and genocidal.

Faced with this appalling scenario that appears to be coalescing into nightmare reality, what can a decent person do? My concern is heightened by my and my family's friendship with lovely Iranians. Words having failed, my most recent response to this horrendously violent world is Painting for Peace -  Art for Peace to demonstrate with beautiful images the Unity of Mankind. I have painted a huge painting called "Isfahan Matisse"  that conflates the stunningly beautiful, pure Islamic tile pattern-based Art of Iran (as most wonderfully shown in the holy city of Isfahan) with modern, avant garde Western painting as exemplified by French painter Henri Matisse.

Several weeks ago, MWC News published the image of a huge painting I had created called "Alhambra Pollock" that conflates pure, Medieval  Islamic Art from the 13th and 14th centuries in the Alhambra Palace of Moorish Spain with Golden Rectangle (Fibonacci Sequence, Da Vinci Code) geometries from religious paintings of the Italian Renaissance and 20,000 year old Australian Aboriginal rock painting figures - to create a beautiful image conflating pure Islamic Art with post-war American Jackson Pollock Abstract Expressionism .

The beautiful IDEA was that if you could combine the extremes of pure religious Islamic Art with radical, avant garde American Abstract Expressionism then you can have a beautiful IMAGE  that describes the essential Unity of Man - and therefore argues cogently that there is no call for the hatred, the xenophobia, the anti-Arab anti-Semitism, the Islamophobia, warmongering , wars, invasions, occupations and horrendous human suffering currently being inflicted by US-Israeli State Terrorism (USIST) and the US Alliance (USA) on a swathe of countries from Somalia to Afghanistan - almost from the Nile to the Indus. In its awful actuality, the Bush War on Terror is a cowardly and racist War on Women and Children, a War on Arab Women and Children, a War on Muslim Women and Children, a War on Asian Women and Children and a War on non-European Women and Children.

My "Isfahan Matisse" (1.3 metres x 2.9 metres; acrylic on doubly-primed canvas) has essentially the same geometrical, cultural and humanitarian basis as "Alhambra Pollock", described by the acronym PEACE that stands for  Pólya, Escher, Alhambra Cultural Ecumenism (after my Great Uncle George Pólya who published a mathematical analysis of the 17 plane symmetry groups or "tile patterns" exploited in Islamic Art, and  Dutch lithographer M.C. Escher who was inspired both by George Pólya's analysis and by the wonderful tile pattern Art of the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain). "Isfahan  Matisse" has figurative elements and brilliant colours redolent of the wonderful work of contemporary French painter Henri Matisse. The figurative elements give the sense of the wonderful Calligraphy often superimposed on Islamic tile Art.

Whereas "Alhambra Pollock" was based on Four Seasons and ONE YEAR in the life a human being, "Isfahan Matisse" is based on ONE DAY in the life of a person. I have interpreted Tchaikovsky's wonderful last Symphony Number 6 - The Pathétique - as one day in the life of a Man. This wonderful symphony was popularly named The Pathétique because of Tchaikovsky's untimely death shortly after it was performed for the first time and its extraordinary conclusion. However Tchaikovsky himself was extremely pleased with the symphony. One Christmas morning, watching the dawn break over the beautiful Yarra River valley in Victoria, Australia - and coincidentally listening to The Pathétique Symphony - it suddenly dawned on me that this work was not a statement of the tragedy of human existence (as commonly thought by pessimistic interpretations) but an Ode to Joy, the accurate description of one joyous day in the life of a human being. No wonder Tchaikovsky was so pleased with this great work - as I am with my humble effort to conflate the beauties of Isfahan and Matisse (pinnacles of Iranian and French culture, respectively) in the description of one joyous day in the life of a human being.

Peace is the only way and this present contribution of PEACE - Pólya, Escher, Alhambra Cultural Ecumenism -  through ART is one of many possible ways to increase empathy for the Other that underscores amity and understanding between human beings. I have previously painted a series of huge paintings as part of this commitment to Art for Peace, and for respect for Woman and for Mother and Child.  You can see all of these paintings on MWC News, namely  Sydney Madonna,  Manhattan Madonna , Melbourne MadonnaQana , Truelove . and Alhambra Pollock .

With the election of conservative, pro-American Nicolas Sarkozy in France there is an even greater need for Islam-West Amity as the world teeters on the brink of a nuclear nightmare in the Middle East. Please tell all your friends and associates about "Isfahan Matisse" and spread the positive message of Islam-West Amity, Franco-Iranian Amity  and Iran-West Amity through this joyous painting.

Dr Gideon Polya
,  MWC News Chief political editor, published some 130 works in a 4 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text "Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds" (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London, 2003), and is currently writing a book on global mortality ---
Other articles by this author 

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