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Peaceful and Passionate paintings at the House of Artists in Tehran

9/14/07 By Syma Sayyah, Tehran

There are many small groups of artists forming in Iran but recently I went to see an exhibition at the Khaneh Honarmandan's (The House of Artists) Momayez gallery. I was so pleased to observe such intense and interesting works by many young mostly women artists under the guidance of Ms Saghar Pazhesheknian who herself had one work at the show.

Most of the paintings on display were still life of one kind or another. Some of the paintings in the exhibition I found good but needed some polishing up. Some were what I call mashgh-e shab (homework). But then there were a few fantastic images; one in particular caught my breath and for a few minutes I just stood there motionless to look at it. This was the cry of modern Iranian women's struggle and determination to find herself and what is right for each in her own individual way in order to reach a collective consciousness.

Recently I have become disappointed with so-called more formal women activist groups, which it seems for some has become a means to recognition and that famous "15 minutes of fame." Some have the temerity to claim to be the only means of women struggle for justice. One can only laugh at such naivety since in a country as complex as Iran, it is simply preposterous that any person or any one group could possibly be the only channel for anything, let alone the defender of women and their rights.

Going back to art, after the exhibition, I was invited to one of the group's regular meetings to meet some of these talented young ladies, and I was most surprised to meet Zaynab Hashemi, the quiet gentle artist of the most striking and daring art work of the exhibition "a women crying out with exasperation to the point of pain and yet hopeful and ready to stand up and get what is her right through her own struggle for justice and equality.

For me this fantastically daring piece of work is a sign that women will find the way to get what they want sooner or later but they must find the guts and be prepared to take the blows that are naturally thrown their way in this struggle individually, in families and above all in society at large.

There I was also able to meet many of the other lady artists, all of whom I found determined and eager to express themselves.

The artists are Lahleh Arami, Zara Baniarmerian, Saghar Pezheshkian, Azarmidokhet Pahzhuhandeh, Shaghayegh Tajiki, Mina Javan, Sara Hosseini, Lila Haghshenass, Kobra Khaki, Afsaneh Reyazi, Mona Zehtabchi, Arya Saatchi, Assa Shojapour, Maryam Tabatabie, Leila Fazelli-nejad, Davoud Ghanadian, Shoura Majedian, Pari Malekzad, Yasaman Mosoavi, Nasim Nilghiyaz, Sara Nilli and Zaynab Hashemi.

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