Iran At A Glance Exhibition – Queen Gallery

“Iran at a Glance” Art Exhibition takes on thorny collective issues by Iranian artists living the challenges of social injustices, apparent and the embedded, inside Iran.  The selected art pieces depict the ongoing struggles of numerous communities, relentlessly unveils tensions between cultural practices, absurd traditions, social movements and political ideologies. The exhibition is taking place at Queen Gallery, located at 382 Queen Street East, Toronto till March 30, 2019.

Queen Gallery presents the work of contemporary artists from Toronto and around the world.  Housed in a refurbished brownstone, this distinctive space is a forum where the boundaries of media are greeted, embraced and even challenged.

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Learn more about “Iran at a Glance” art exhibition through the interview with Mahrokh Ahankhah, founder of the Queen Gallery:

Jupilings: What is Iran at a Glance Exhibition about?

MA:  Iran at a Glance exhibition seeks to offer a new and fresh perspective into Iran’s contemporary art scene. The socio-cultural elements affecting artists/people in Iran are explored through the lens of twenty artists and their artworks. Through their own stylistic techniques, each of the artists gives us a unique glance into their world in Iran. The exhibition was curated by Iranian artist Nina Rastgar and Mahrokh Ahankhah, the founder of Queen Gallery.

Jupilings: Who are the artists:

MH: The artists featured in this exhibition represent the diversity of expressions, concepts and backgrounds among artists in Iran; From emerging to highly established artists.

Jupilings: What are the prevalent themes in this collection?

MH: The collection explores the day-to-day lives and concerns of artists and their experience as a creative individual.

Jupilings: What was the selection criteria for this particular group?

MH: The curator for this exhibition selected artists based on their artistic merit and their originality of ideas, concepts and techniques. Beyond that, the diversity of artists and their backgrounds was one of the key driving factors in selecting artists and artworks for Iran at a Glance Exhibition. 

Jupilings: How does art play in cultural, political and civil resistance in Iran?

MH: The study of Iranian history shows the unbreakable links between art and all other political, cultural, social, and economic events; art has been continuously used as a highly efficient tool to express thoughts and aspirations, as well as to challenge authority, and oppression. The contemporary Iranian artists, represented in Iran at a Glance and beyond, follow the same legacy that prior artists such as Kamal-ol-Molk, Behzad, and Sohrab Sepehri. Today’s artists, in their many different mediums, speak of truth, and the real-life struggles of Iranian artists in Iran.

Jupilings: What other exhibitions do you have coming up?

MH: Our next exhibit features Tina Rouhandeh. Her artworks combine calligraphy, poetry and sewing together; Scribe and Stitch exhibition is open to the public on April 3rd-13th, 2019.

The Art of Afsoon

How to peacefully tackle and question the ideologies, values, and happenings of the 21st century? The disagreements, the conflicts, the foolishness yet the ever-present of innocence and divine are the prismatic reflections in the artwork of Afsoon, a renowned Iranian born,  London-based artist. Her assemblage tells the story of individuals who bare open the vulnerabilities of humanity such as her collection of poets. At the same time, she shed lights to paradoxes of war and allegorical beliefs of our times in an imaginative and whimsical manner.

Poets in Heaven Series - by Afsoon
Poets in Heaven Series – by Afsoon
War Carpets - by Afsoon
War Carpets – by Afsoon

Afsoon explores complexities of our world and takes us a step forward to examine perceptions and tenets. Similar to our pure ideals of love, the original sin, transformation of Adam & Eve, the defiant celebrities to earthlings, or the schisms of feminine experience. Still, hope is in existence. A firm believer of a fairytale, she constructs narratives, she remembers, she solves, and she implies survival of not only the fittest but the one that still believes in humanity.

Adam & Eve - By Afsoon
Adam & Eve – By Afsoon

She makes use of linocut, photography, watercolour, collage, and etching for her multilayered creations. For the most part, she illustrates her deep connection with her homeland while exploring the splendor and the Achilles heel of the East and the West. Afsoon’s works have been extensively exhibited and can be found worldwide in prominent collections and museums, including the British Museum, Los Angeles County Museum and Berger/YSL Collection, among others.

 

Afsoon
Afsoon

Interview

Jupilings: Tell us about yourself and how you got into art-

A: As long as I can remember, I have been making things. From drawings with crayons at a very young age and my preteen magazine collages to film art in my early twenties to work, I do now.

Jupilings: How do you choose your protagonists-

A: I am my protagonist.

Jupilings: What is the fundamental principle in your creations-

A: Storytelling

War Carpet - by Afsoon
War Carpet – by Afsoon

Jupilings: As an artist, what role and social responsibility you shoulder-

A: An artist should be honest.

Jupilings: When you are creating a work of art, you are forging an engagement with a situation or an emotion. Do you aspire to drive public awareness to activism, in any stage of your creation-

A: Emotions are always involved in creating my art. I tell my story and leave it up to the viewers to engage with it in their own way.

Jupilings: What is one undisclosed or mysterious piece of information about yourself, you would bravely share with your audience-

A: I am scared of the dark.

Jupilings: What does women empowerment mean to you-

A: I am a woman and a feminist. Equality is the answer.

Keys from Persian Magic Series - by Afsoon
Keys from Persian Magic Series – by Afsoon

Jupilings: Three tips about building a brand name as an artist-

A: I don’t believe in this brand name and so forth. I am an old-fashioned artist. My only tip is to keep on making art.

Jupilings: What do you do to conquer fear or self-doubt-

A: I make art and write short stories.

Jupilings: What superpower you would like to have-and why-

A: I would like to be invisible to see and hear things that are not meant for me.

Jupilings: Which movie you would have liked to be the leading actor-

A: Nostalgia by Tarkovsky

Jupilings: What is your life motto-

A: I follow Louise Bourgeois with: Art is a guaranty of sanity.

Forough from Fairytales Icons Series - By Afsoon
Forough from Fairytales Icons Series – By Afsoon