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On the occasion of Parvaneh Etemadi's art exhibition: Once Upon a Time

By Roya Monajem, Tehran, Tavoos Art Magazine

It is a long time that going to art exhibitions seems like reading newspapers or listening to the news, that is devoid of any good news. They are more like illustrated pages of history books left for future generation to actually feel the circumstances. For contemporaries, it is like experiencing the same suffocating horrible despairing surrounding air once more now through somebody else's eyes. For artists, the act of creation is healing, for those, unable to express what is going on inside them as the result of outside impressions, watching those creations is a kind of emotional discharge through identification with the artist.

The good news was that Parvaneh Etemadi is holding an exhibition! A sigh of relief! Thank goodness she has become active again. It was suffocating to see all that talent, mastery, sensitivity, knowledge, and... put on the shelf if not wardrobe. The above air leaves not much motivation for a sensitive soul like her living on a land where in Hafez's words:

It is time for blood to surge in the heart of ruby

For being defeated by stoneware in the bazaar

Parvaneh is angry, for thousands and one reasons for the past ten thousand nine hundred and five years of her past life.

Parvaneh Etemadi

For an artist - painter, it must be very hard when forbidden to draw 'realistic figures.' If she can not draw any women in her most natural state of being, letting her hair be brushed by the morning breeze or raindrops, and the men in their own natural ways, so let's show them be-headed with all other association that the word may bring to the mind or in the form of some 'fabric-going-to be-some-dress-or-suit-covering the nude body of a man or woman later. And if she can not show the texture of their skin with the masterful play of her colored pencils, in the same way that she recreates most beautiful Persian textiles, laces and termehs (roughly cashmere), once upon a time a part of dowry of any Persian girl and now found in some "safe-box" in a cellar or in some antique shop, she shows them in the form of some cut papers of those textiles, like puppets, again with all the additional meanings that puppets may associate.

For many the word art associates beauty. Some like Oscar Wilde say: The Artist is the creator of beautiful things. In his Ego and His Own, Max Stirner, one of the most influential 19th century German philosophers says: "Art has for a long time not only acknowledged the ugly, but considered the ugly as necessary to its existence, and takes it up into itself; it needs the villain."

Parvaneh Etemadi's artworks somehow include both concepts. Her present exhibition, which is more like a review or a summary of her works in the past seven or eight years, while not as gloomy and despairing as the previous one, for including some of her works from The Dowry of the Fairy Princess, can be appreciated for her script-writing and directorship of quite a unique science fiction animation produced by more or less the same elements of her previous works as its name suggests: Once upon Time (2).

Once upon a time, there was a paper earth, standing alone with its moon, then it explodes and from what the pieces turn into, flying knives, drawn swords, cut ears, winged feminine masculine shields, scissors cutting fabrics (in the above meaning)... one may guess the cause of explosion!

Once upon a time, a stone or an arrow was the most mortal arm, with their further developments like spears, swords, knives, they just could kill one at a time, with canons and bombs and atomic bombs quite a few, a whole village, a whole city...

May our Earth not experience the Nuclear Bomb!


Identifying with Parvaneh and shouting the above words in my whole being, I leave the art gallery trying hard to wash away the despairing impressions as I climb up the steps of the art gallery Maah (meaning moon in Persian). Suddenly, the beginning of her video art crosses the mind like a flash of light. Parvaneh's moon was different from what we are accustomed to see in two ways! First it was the kind of moon we see at the end of the month, that is upside down. The second was that it ascended from the south instead of east, from below instead of above the earth! Perhaps because the moon rises in a very different way upside down and from the south for change, then hopefully Parvaneh's prophesy or warning will not come true, unless they are some cosmic deterministic apocalyptic signs, in which case we can not do anything about it, can we?

How beautiful it would be if in the position of creators, artists wouldn't see tomorrow on the basis of the past and even the present and visualize a more loving world. Isn't what has been going on this earth up until now and perhaps for ever the result of somebody's imagination later imitated and taken up by others?

Related Article:  Born a Painter Parvaneh Etemadi at Tehran's Mah Gallery

... Payvand News - 01/13/10 ... --

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