The 14th century Lyric poet Hafiz, whose emergence in the history of Iran was inevitable, is a manifestation of the most sublime character traits of Iranian individuals. He is a symbol of elegance, shrewdness, wisdom, illusion – indeed, all the aspects of our ancient culture. Iranian visual arts, which possess an inherent illustrative quality, have always been intertwined with poetry. Deletion of weight and shadow in old Persian paintings evokes the imagery of dreams, and the absence of time provides an opportunity to juxtapose parallel events.
My paintings have an undeniable association with this Iranian visual tradition. An understanding of the past makes it easier for me to appreciate the present. However, Hafiz Poetry has never been confined to the past; it belongs to a transcendent world. The fact that he knows neither time nor geographical boundaries and continues to be present in contemporary Iranian culture suggests the immensity of his thinking and the timelessness of his appeal.
In this collection, I portray Hafiz alongside angels traveling between the two worlds; the works attempt to illustrate the sublimity of the transcendent world. The works’ colors, composition, and decorations are based on my intuitive understanding of his work, and the music embedded in the poetry influenced the movement, stillness, and silence of the works’ spaces. My interest in and enthusiasm for Hafiz Poetry has inspired me since childhood, and this collection was shaped during four years of inner journey with the poet. It is impossible to illustrate all aspects of the voyage that the sonnets invoke through words; these paintings represent the Hafiz of my imagination.
Self-portraits from Ars Poetica
These works depict aspects of women’s lives. In each work, a woman is depicted surrounded by weapons – guns, fighter jets, knives, and rockets – while the words of Forugh Farrokhzad's poems frame the images and help to reveal the women’s stories. Wounded birds, a blood-colored river, and other elements show symbolically that what we see at first sight is not the reality. For example, in one of the works, a woman is covering her mouth with her own hands, while the accompanying poem reads, “I want to say no, no, no...” Around that poem, there is a border filled with guns, representing that which is preventing her from saying "No." In another image, a woman is depicted in a seductive pose; however, a closer examination reveals that she has been beheaded.
The contrast between appearance and reality that exists in my own surroundings is a motivation for my works.