art of resistance, Iran

Tarlan Rafiee: The printess of Iran.

Tarlan Rafiee is an Iranian visual artist/printmaker, photographer and painter. Rafiee has held many painting and printmaking exhibitions in the best known galleries and art museums in Iran.  She now works as a tutor in printmaking in her own studio and other art institutes. Her style could be described as edgy colorful vintage, a blast from the past, but in its essence very relevant today. Rafiee says her  greatest inspiration comes from popular culture, everyday life of ordinary people, their nostalgias and their hopes.

Here are some of Rafiee’s artworks.

taarlan4Once upon a time (collection)

tarlan once upon a timeHappiness package (collection)

tarlan2Once upon a time (collection details)

tarlan3Women gathering (collection)

tarlan6Once upon a time (collection)

Women-Gathering-wall-2-e1405233888307Women gathering (collection)

/all images © Tarlan Rafiee/

For more, visit Rafiee’s facebook page.

art of resistance, Iran

Make a wish – Tehran.

I already posted about Loulou d’Aki and her great project Make a wish, presenting Make a wish – Gaza.

Make a wish  is an investigation about the dreams and visions of a selection of 21st century youngsters. The project took place in Istanbul, Gaza, Cairo, Sana’a, Tehran, Jerusalem and Naples.

Today – it’s time to see what young people in Tehran dream about and wish for.


18-year old Sahba Nikraftar from Rashd spends the weekend with her family by the Caspian sea.


Dorna is an art student. She does not feel free in Iran and studies German so that she can eventually continue her life in Berlin.



Hoda Zareei from Ekbatan neighborhood in southeastern Tehran studies sculpture at the Academy of Art.



16-year old Zahra is a Taekwando championess from Karaj, northwest of Tehran. She started practising the sport when she was 9 and has continued ever since with the support of her family.




15-year old Cyrus is the only son of renown fashion designer Shade Parand. He lives with his mother in northern Tehran and goes to high school.



Bahman Nasifrifar is a metal guitarist without a band and a spiritual Toec believer. He recently tired to emigrate to Sweden but was sent back home and had his passport confiscated by the authorities at his return in Iran. He spends his time with friends, in the mountains or playing his new guitar patiently awaiting the day his passport will be returned to him so that he can try to leave the county one more time.

/all images © Loulou d’Aki/

For more on d’Aki and her projects, go to her official website.

art of resistance, Iran

Rapture (Shirin Neshat).








 Shirin Neshat: Rapture

Rapture, one of Neshat’s early works, consists of two projections shown on opposing gallery walls. One projection shows a group of men dressed alike in Western-style white shirts and black pants. The other shows a group of women wearing traditional Iranian dress, including the chador,which covers their heads and most of their bodies, and in some cases, the niquab, a face covering. Despite these garments, the viewer is able to decipher individual features and expressions.

The installation, which is 13 minutes long and shown in continuous loops, shows elegiac and meditative scenes of the two groups. As the women traverse landscapes of sand and stone, the men navigate the stone architecture of an ancient city. As the women cry out—whether in celebration or anger, it’s unclear—the men unroll Persian prayer rugs and quarrel. In the final scene, the women gather on a beach, where they maneuver a small boat into the crashing waves. As their bare feet break the sand surface, the hems of their chadors become wet with salt water. Ultimately, six women remain in the boat as it drifts out to the sea.

Although art historians reference Neshat’s upbringing in Iran and her experiences in the United States as a way to shed light on her body of work, Neshat herself is neither dogmatic nor clear about her intentions. “From the beginning,” she said in a 1999 interview with art critic Arthur Danto, “I made a decision that this work was not going to be about me or my opinions on the subject, and that my position was going to be no position. I then put myself in a place of only asking questions but never answering them.”

Writing in The New Yorker about Neshat’s two-channel projections, Peter Schjeldahl wrote, “Neshat’s elegant, two-screen meditations on the culture of the chador in Islamic Iran emit an icy heat of suppressed passions; they are among the first undoubtable masterpieces of video installation.” 

For more, go to Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.

art of resistance, Iran

Shahnameh, The Pop-up Book.

Fictionville Studio has a new project, and it is a unique one!


Riding on the success of their best-selling book, Shahnameh, The Epic of the Persian Kings, they’ve have partnered with paper engineer extraordinaire, Simon Arizpe to create a magical and dynamic new pop up book, based on the art and stories of our Epic Shahnameh. They are creating the very first pop up book based on a traditional Iranian story to delight the imaginations of readers all over the world. The story of Zahhak: The Legend of the Serpent King is destined to kick off this new series of pop up books.

They need a little help with this lovely project, so be sure to check it out and  – share it, spread the news, donate (1 $ can help too).

art of resistance, Iran

The magical universe of Tehran’s street art(ists).

Mehdi Ghadyanloo is an Iranian street artist. He has been painting murals and deocorating the walls of Tehran for a long time now (quietly, in the night, since it is an illegal activity). He got his MA and decided to show his art, to paint it on the walls – all over Theran. Now – he has painted more than 100 walls in Tehran. His beautiful artwork can be seen on the walls, fences, buildings, playgrounds, and presents topics such as the life cycle, childhood, and old memories of Tehran in a unique and often very colorful way. It’s a great artistic intervention and presence, and I wish to see more walls like this in other cities and countries.












9a52f1d67c3af601383a6024120c742aall photos © Mehdi Ghadyanloo

For more of Mehdi’s artwork, visit

art of resistance, Iran, travel

Diversity and Exuberance – Panoramas of Iran.

Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji is an Iranian photographer whose work I already mentioned here, introducing his mosque photos – well, more – mosque flowers, full of colors and amazing light.

There are some great news – he has a new site, you can check it out here. To get you excited about his work and his new photos, I am posting this random collection of the lovely moments he captured so far. I think it is a beautiful portrayal of Iran in its diversity  – from the amazing Bafgh desert at night to Theran’s towers and carpet repair workshops in Shiraz.


600006_10151094035054155_1688659751_nBafgh Desert at Night 

1239657_10151926184579155_733728856_nAzadi (Shahyad) Tower , Tehran , Iran

1398974_10152101519869155_1451639517_oChoret Lake , Mazandaran , Iran

1497720_10152176360829155_1755420827_nWinter in Mazandaran

1901159_10152325876384155_643173717_nEram Garden , Shiraz , Iran

1653533_10152369305194155_1132995383_nCarpet Repair Workshop, Shiraz, Iran (all photos © Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji)

For more of Mohammad’s work – visit his website and his facebook page.