A People’s Voice – Art of Iran

Horror. Dismay. Sadness. Like the rest of the world, I’ve been watching the disturbing footage of protests, turmoil, and violence from Iran in the wake of their “election”. To call them a troubled country right now would be a gross understatement. Even we westerners, looking at our television and internet screens, can’t help but feel the frustration, anger, and outrage of Iranians in their turbulent quest to re-define their future, assert their voice, and speak truth to power.

I’ve often thought that government – and the self-serving, megalomaniacal despots and politicians who generally comprise government – is the worst part of any given nation. For many of us, it is culture – arts, dance, music, poetry – that reveals the authentic soul of a people, not their government. This holds especially true for a people who are oppressed, silenced, manipulated, denied self-expression and the unfettered pursuit of their dreams, for themselves and their children.

I have always had a touch of that “fuck authority” attitude. Government weasels, trigger-happy militia forces, and deranged tyrants can bring out the cynic in anybody. And cynicism is not necessarily a bad thing. But for the people caught in the crossfires of strife – innocent, hopeful dreamers and believers – they deserve better. At this moment in time, Iranians deserve better. Acknowledgement of their extraordinary cultural heritage is a good start.

So I thought I would take this opportunity remind both myself and my readers that Iran has a long, rich cultural history, one that goes back thousands of years, when it was known as Persia, and home to some of the earliest civilizations. I’m sure millions of Iranians would want us to know that they are more than just another violent, unstable country in the Middle East, more than a place of mobs, shootings, bloodshed, and tear gas. I wouldn’t want to be identified by such things either. As always, we turn to the arts to deliver us away. Beauty over brutality. Inspiration over oppression. Humanity over inhumanity.

In Wikipedia, I discovered the work and fascinating biography of Iranian-born artist Bahram Alivandi. Born in 1928, Alivandi received his artistic training in Tehran, where he mastered not only painting, but traditional Persian arts of ceramics, miniatures, and tapestry.

From Wiki:

Alivandi’s work is rich in symbolism and oriental motifs, such as the fish, gazelle, and horse, which are traditional motifs of Persian miniatures. He draws influence from Persian culture, depicting characters and stories from legends and epic poetry. He left Iran several years after the Islamic revolution of 1979 to escape the repression and censorisation of all free artistic expression. He has lived and worked in Vienna since 1983.

Here are two images of Alivandi’s work. I absolutely love these! They are both done in ink and veneer on canvas. Look at the beautiful bird in the first one:



Hopes for peace in Iran . . . and hopes for peace on earth . . . .

10 thoughts on “A People’s Voice – Art of Iran

  1. K L says:

    I won’t be lured into this one.

  2. fredh1 says:

    Nice works. I’ve come to rely on Museworthy as a source for discovering new artists.

    Watching events unfold in Iran, I’ve been regretting once again the failure of Americans to take to the streets after the Supreme Court fixed the election of 2000. We paid a heavy price for our complacency.

    • artmodel says:


      We certainly did. I share your feelings about 2000, but once the Supreme Court got involved I had a foreboding sense it was all over.

      I’ll keep searching for new art discoveries. New to us, at least.

      Thanks for your comments


  3. K L says:

    I didn’t want to do it…but I can’t stand it anymore hear goes. I’m with you on the authority thing, I cannot stand poloticians either. I really don’t think that words like militia, crossfire, teargas, shootings, bloodshed and all the other hellish nightmare things that go them mix well with the beautiful art forum that you created here. But what the hell it’s an ughly world, I would just as soon leave it on the news. As for the Iranians..and I know they are not all bad people, but in 79 I was sitting on aC130 with a parachute on my back looking at pallets of ammunition wondering if my life was about to end….I really hate to say it but there are some people that just flat out deserve to have their bags smoked. I’ll still come to you for insperation though.

    • artmodel says:


      I realize that you are new to this blog and that your overall initial impression of Museworthy is that is a place for art, and ONLY art. But I live in this world just like you and everyone else. I am not some sheltered, disembodied “nude girl” of cyberspace who dwells exclusively in art model poses, paintings, drawings, and art history. I am a real person with opinions, views, feelings, and a Masters degree in History to boot.

      I’m sorry if you found this post somehow inappropriate for Museworthy, but with all due respect KL, the “appropriateness” of posts is decided by one person and one person only – me. You are free to skip reading the posts you don’t care for. No one is forcing you.

      I should also bring it to your attention that I have readers in Iran. The first time I saw readers online from Tehran and Qorn simultaneously, on my Who’s Among Us map, I was so excited! I even received a lovely email from one of them a while back, telling me how much they enjoy the blog. This post was written partially for them.

      I sense from your comment that you feel I should stick with my niche and leave news and politics alone. But this blog is an outlet for me just as much as it is a diversion for my readers. So, if there’s something I want to post about then I’ll post about it.

      You mentioned that you will still come here for “inspiration”? Well, this post is precisely about inspiration, as it was my attempt to showcase art in the face of adversity. It seems you might have missed the point entirely.


  4. Lori Gordon says:

    I just love these. They scream classical Middle East/Persian/Northern African with the oval eyes, perfectly manicured eyebrows, long eyelashes, contorted figures, dreamy feel, concert with nature, otherworldly sense… This brings up the question: when you are faced with conflict do you go back to your roots? I think so…

    Claudia, I love the feeling in your writing. Keep it up girl! 😉

    • artmodel says:


      Thanks so much! That’s a great compliment coming from you.

      You saw in these works the same things I did. “Dreamy” and “otherworldly” is the perfect observation. I was also impressed with Alivandi’s meticulous technique. There is love, admiration and respect for Persian traditions in these paintings.

      Yes, I agree with you about returning to roots during conflict, especially artistic roots.

      Thanks again for your comments and kind words!


  5. K L says:

    Please accept my apology, Claudia. You are absolutely right. I just knew that when I opened my mouth that my foot would be going in it. I’ve had that problem all my life…but believe it or not I am getting better about it.

    • artmodel says:

      No worries, KL. Apology not necessary. I’ve suffered from foot-in-mouth syndrome many times!

      I hope you continue to enjoy Museworthy 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s