Category Archives: Personalities

Iranian illustrator Hoda Hadadi wins gold at the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards

Hoda Haddadi won the award for her illustrations for Drummer Girl, a book written by Pakistani-Canadian author Hiba Masood and published by Daybreak Press in the United States. The Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards are designed to bring increased recognition to exemplary children’s books and their creators, and to support childhood literacy and life-long reading. The contest is open to authors, illustrators, and publishers of children’s books written in English or Spanish for the North American market.

About Hoda Hadadi
Hadadi is an Iranian illustrator, poet and writer born in February 1977 in Tehran. She graduated with a M.A. in Graphic Design from Art University, Tehran. She teaches at the Association of Iranian Illustrators.

In 1998 Hoda Hadadi started writing and publishing her illustrations for magazines. Her first book as an illustrator was published in 1999 and her first book as a writer (My cloudy day -Shab Aviz) was published in 2000. Since then, she has illustrated more than fifty books published in Iran and around the world; in English i.e. Deep in the Sahara (Penguin Random House, 2013), Drummer Girl (Daybreak Press, 2016), A Rainbow in My Pocket (Tiny Owl, 2016) and forthcoming Just like me! (Tiny Owl, 2017).

Hadadi creates unique collages, balancing delicate materials and textures; she layers gauze papers, stitches, pencil and paint to create beautiful images. Depending on the text they take a more abstract or descriptive form. A Rainbow in My pocket, e.g., was a poem and required a more conceptual style.

In 2003 she directed and animated How is a good girl?, a 4-minute animation. The UNESCO calendar printed her art work in 2004. She has hold more than ten group exhibitions in Iran, India, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Russia, along solo exhibitions in Belgrade, Serbia (2009) and in Tehran (2007).

Other awards
New Horizons of Bologna (2010, Italy)
3rd Prize Teatrio Festival (2008, Italy)
Noma Encouragement Prize (2002 & 2008, Japan)
Defa-e Moghaddas Special Prize (2008, Tehran, Iran)
Grand Prix of Belgrade (2007, Serbia)
Golden Plaque of BIB (2007, Biennial of Illustration Bratislava, Slovakia)
1st Prize of Kanoon Book Festival (2005, Tehran, Iran)
2nd Prize KATHA (2005, India)

Sources: Moonbean Awards, Tehran Times, Tiny Owl Children’s Book Publisher, Wonderland Illustration Group, Saatchi Art, Facebook @hodihadadi, Twitter @hoda_hadadi, Instagram @ludlowgallery

Rio 2016: Zahra Nemati – Iranian archer

Born in April 1985 in Kerman, Iran, Nemati took up taekwondo when she was only eight. Ten years later, in 2003 she suffered a spinal injury during a road accident and both of her legs were paralyzed. After spending two months in the hospital, she returned home in a wheelchair. This would have been the end of a sporting career for most people, but not for Nemati.

On Friday August 5th, 2016, Nemati lead Iranian athletes as flag bearer during the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She is the only Iranian woman ever to have won a Paralympic gold medal and the only Iranian athlete who has qualified for both the 2016 Olympics and the 2016 Paralympics.

She is also the only Iranian athlete who has received the coveted Sport Accord’s Spirit of Sport Individual Award in 2013 and the first Iranian athlete to be named athlete of the year by the International Olympics Committee.

Nevertheless, she is not the first woman from Iran to participate at the Olympic games as flag bearer, as stated in many news articles. In fact, in 1996 at the Atlanta Olympics, sports shooter Lida Fariman was the first woman to lead Iran’s contingent. At the time, Fariman was the first woman from Iran to participate at the Olympics since the Islamic revolution of 1979.

In 2008, at the Beijing Olympics, rower Homa Hosseini (women’s single sculls) also led the Iranian delegation, as well as alpine skier Marjan Kalhor (slalom and giant slalom); she was Iran’s flag bearer in 2010 at the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Related article:
The Guardian | Trail-blazer Zahra Nemati wins hearts and minds with stirring effort in archery

I am posting daily updates on Iranian athletes’ performances and events at Rio 2016 Olympics here: The other Iran | Iran in Rio 2016

Sources: IranWire, Hindustan TimesBUSTLE, NBC Olympics, NBC News, worldarchery.org

Marcos Grigorian’s “Earthworks” on display in Tehran

Dastan +2 is hosting “Earth Works” by Iranian-Armenian artist Marcos Grigorian. The exhibition will be open from June 10th to July, 2nd.

Marcos (better known as Marco) Grigorian was an Iranian-Armenian artist, actor, teacher, gallery owner, and collector who played a pioneering role in the development of Iranian modern art. As a modernist pop artist, he turned to ordinary objects and popular ethnic forms and approaches. He used ethnic food such as “nan sangak” and “abghousht” to evoke authenticity in his work. Grigorian was a trend setter in experimenting with Earth Art in Iran.

Other posts on Iranian Armenians: https://theotheriran.com/tag/armenian/

Biography
Grigorian was born in Kropotkin, Russia in 1925, to an Armenian family from Kars who had fled that city when it was captured by Turkey in 1920. The family moved to Iran when Grigorian was five, living first in Tabriz, then Tehran and settling later in Julfa, the Armenian district of Isfahan. In 1940 his family moved back to Tehran where he attended Alborz College and later Kamal-al-Molk Art School in 1948.

After finishing pre-university education in Iran, in 1950, Grigorian went to Rome, and enrolled at the Academia di Belle Arti. He studied with cubist sculptor Roberto Melli (1885-1958). Upon graduation in 1954, he returned to Iran and opened Gallery Esthetique, one of the first modern galleries in Tehran.

In 1958, under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, he organized the first Tehran Biennial. Grigorian was also an influential teacher at the Fine Arts Academy, where he disseminated his enthusiasm for local popular culture, including coffee-house paintings, a type of folk art named after the locations in which they were often displayed.

In 1959, after two years of intensive work, Grigorian completed a succession of enormous murals centering on the topic of the Holocaust. During the same period, he started applying dirt to the center of his canvases. This became the starting point of his celebrated “Earthworks Series”.

In 1960 he started acting in several Iranian films as Gregory Mark. An energetic and talented performer, he played villains in many movies, soon specializing in anti-hero roles and conspicuously contrary characters.

After moving to the USA in 1962 Grigorian started a new phase in his artistic career. He worked and lived in New York until 1970, when he returned to Tehran and joined the Faculty of Fine Arts at Tehran University. Grigorian left Iran in 1977.

In 1980 he returned to New York and established Arshile Gorky Gallery, named after the Armenian abstract expressionist painter who committed suicide in the U.S.A. in 1948. There he exhibited the works of Iranian and Armenian artists for several years.

In 1986 Grigorian lost his daughter to a massive heart attack. The tragedy caused a shift in Grigorian’s entire perspective and artistic priorities. He immersed himself in his other passion, that of Armenian folk art and rug weaving. He later donated 5,000 of his artworks to the government of Armenia.

In 1993 established the “Sabrina Near East Museum of Yerevan”, where he housed his own works and exquisite collection. Known as the Middle East Museum, the Museum displays 2,600 exhibits containing works of Russian, European and Middle Eastern applied arts. In particular the Persian Section is unique. Persian Pre-Islamic Zoroastrian culture, Islamic culture, Ghadjarac art is on display as well.

Some of his works are now on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Kerman, and the National Gallery of Armenia. Grigorian died on August 2007 in Yerevan, Armenia.

Sources: dastan+2, Facebook | Dastan’s Basement, HonarOnline, Encyclopaedia Iranica | Grigorian, Marcos, Wikipedia | Marcos Grigorian, armeniainfo.am

Iranian documentary wins Amnesty International Film Prize

Mehrdad Oskouei’s ‘Starless Dreams’ (Royahaye Dame Sobh) along with ‘Fuocoammare’ (Fire at Sea) by Gianfranco Rosi have won the Amnesty International Film Prize at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival. Rosi’s documentary film about the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean off the Italian island of Lampedusa, won also the Golden Bear prize for Best Film.

Oskouei, one of Iran’s best documentary filmmakers, explores in ‘Starless Dreams’ the anguish and joys of girls in a juvenile correctional facility on the outskirts of Tehran. His small, all-male crew spent 20 days talking to the young women who gave them surprising access to their lives and feelings. The film won in Iran the Best Documentary Director Award at the 34th Fajr Film Festival earlier this year.

The German branch of Amnesty International has awarded the Amnesty International Film Prize for the first time at the Berlinale 2005. The aim of the prize is to draw the attention of audiences and representatives of the film industry to the theme of human rights and encourage filmmakers to tackle this topic. German actress Meret Becker, Swiss film maker Dani Levy and Markus Beeko, Director of Campaigns and Communications for Amnesty International Germany were the members of this independent jury at the Berlinale 2016.

Iranian filmmaker Mehrdad Oskouei (1st R) and Italian director Gianfranco Rosi (2nd L) with Jury members Dani Levy (1st L) and Meret Becker (2nd R) in Berlin - Feb 20, 2016. Photo credits: Henning Schacht / Amnesty International

Iranian filmmaker Mehrdad Oskouei (1st R) and Italian director Gianfranco Rosi (2nd L) with Jury members Dani Levy (1st L) and Meret Becker (2nd R) in Berlin – Feb 20, 2016. Photo credits: Henning Schacht / Amnesty International

About Mehrdad Oskouei
Oskouei, an independent producer, filmmaker, photographer and researcher, was born in Tehran, Iran in 1969. He has a B.A. in film direction from the University of Arts, starting in the theatre in 1981 and the film world in 1988. In 2010, Oskouei received the Prince Claus Award from the Netherlands.

Sources: Tavoos Online, Berlinale, Hollywod Reporter, Reuters, Wikipedia | Starless Dreams, Fajr Film Festival (in Persian)

Iranian artist Pariyoush Ganji honored with Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun

Iranian artist Pariyoush Ganji has been honored with the Order of the Rising Sun by the Japanese government. She received the “3rd Class, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon Order of the Rising Sun” at the Embassy of Japan in Tehran.

The 70-year old artist was commissioned by the Japan Foundation to conduct research in the city of Kyoto on Sassanid-era designs, which had been transferred via the Silk Road and appeared on the kimono, the traditional Japanese female costume, and the belt obi.

In addition, Ganji, who has been teaching in Iranian art universities, has long promoted the Japanese art of sumie (Japanese black ink painting) and shoi (traditional Japanese architecture) in her classes. She has had a big share in introducing and promoting Japanese art in Iran and has also helped elevate the artistic exchanges between Iran and Japan.

The Japanese government honored 89 foreign nationals on November 3rd, 2015. Iranian film director Abbas Kiarostami also received the Order of the Rising Sun in 2013.

The Order of the Rising Sun was established by Emperor Meiji of Japan in 1875 and was awarded in nine classes until 2003. The badge features rays of sunlight from the rising sun. The design of the Rising Sun symbolizes energy as powerful as the rising sun in parallel with the “rising sun” concept of Japan (“Land of the Rising Sun”).

The order is awarded to those who have made distinguished achievements in international relations, promotion of Japanese culture, advancements in their field, development in welfare or preservation of the environment.

Sources: Tavoos Online, Embassy of Japan in Iran, Honar Online I, Honar Online II, Wikipedia | Order of the Rising Sun

‘Curriculum Mortis’ by Iranian artist Barbad Golshiri in Tehran

Aaran Gallery hosted one of Barbad Golshiri’s versions of ‘Curriculum Mortis’, that portrays concepts related to death and graveyards.

“I am a taphographer [1], I make grave markers, for the past fifteen years I take pictures of graves and burials and I make frottages on epitaphs of those eliminated only to distribute them. I have also made cenotaphs [2]. Memorials too, for the dead and the living. All these frame Curriculum Mortis. It is true to say that Curriculum Mortis  is not a series. I cannot make series.” […]
– Barbad Golshiri on the catalogue of the exhibition

About Barbad Golshiri
Barbad Golshiri is an Iranian contemporary artist, born in 1982 in Tehran, Iran. His father was Houshang Golshiri, a famous Iranian writer. He studied painting at The School of Art and Architecture, Azad University, Tehran. He has worked both as a media artist and a critic. He works with video, digital media, installation, photography, the internet, graphic novels and Lettrism. He won the third prize of the 6th Tehran Contemporary Painting Biennial, Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. (More information: Wikipedia | Barbad Golshiri)

To read the review of the New York Times (Sep 19th, 2013) of one of Barbad Golshiri’s versions of ‘Curriculum Mortis’ click here.

Comments
[1] Tapographer: A tapographer is a copier of tombstones.
[2] Cenotaph: A cenotaph is an “empty tomb” or a monument erected in honour of a person or group of people whose remains are elsewhere. It can also be the initial tomb for a person who has since been reinterred elsewhere.

Sources: Honar Online, Instagram @aarangallerytehran, tandismag.com, Tehran Times, Aaran Gallery, Wikipedia | Barbad Golshiri, Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society, Wikipedia | Cenotaph

‘Distant memories’ by Iranian artist Tara Behbahani in Tehran (Photos)

Golestan Gallery hosted ‘Distant memories’, a painting exhibition by Tara Behbahani.

Tara Behbahani (born 1983) has been learning tricks and techniques of sculpturing with her mother, and painting with her father, who himself is one of the most famous contemporary artists, Taha Behbahani, since early childhood. She has been studied Art and Mathematics along side each other and after completing her university studies in Mathematics she started to research the relationship between art and geometry in Eastern Art.

She has participated in several exhibitions in Iran and abroad and has written about Islamic and Eastern Art in various magazines. For the past 12 years she has been teaching painting to youth and children.

Sources: tarabehbahani.com, mopcap.com, Honar Online, Instagram @tarabehbahani, Golestan Gallery