Art – Iran’s artistic legacy

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Arish’s nomadic paths, from Tehran to Washington.

The Middle East is where Asia, Africa and Europe meet. The region’s identity combines its existence as a zone of transition with some particular local features, characterised by a certain nomadic calling. During different periods of Avish Khebrehzadeh’s life, that same nomadic calling has taken her to countries with diverse cultures: her youth in Tehran, then Rome and now Washington. Born in 1969, the artist, painter and photographer has been described byThe New York Timesas belonging to a small group of artists from the Iranian diaspora.

With a deep sensitivity, the artist investigates a simple and delicate approach to her relationship with her own Middle Eastern origins, clinging tightly to their roots and traditions, and showcasing her belonging through a language that is both delicate and dreamlike. “Just as in a dream, each thing has its essential meaning”, explained the artist. In 2003, she won the Young Italian Art prize at the Venice Biennale for Young Italian Art. 

Her work consists of drawings on fabric or crêpe paper, video animations and small oil paintings. Through these media, Avish Khebrehzadeh combines the charm of the fable with ancient tales from the Iranian and Persian traditions. What remains of the Middle East from an artistic point of view is manifested perfectly in her works. As Goethe claimed, “The eye sees only what the mind knows”.

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