The war and restrictions in Iran have kept the art culture of Iran in a closed environment for the last 40 years. There have been many prominent artists in the previous few decades who have made immense contributions to modern art. However, they weren’t able to show their art to the world. Individual artists have had to take extra efforts to earn an audience around the globe.
The Saqqakhanah Movement
The Saqqakhanah movement refers to the contemporary art movement in Iran, which started in 1962. The members of this movement surround themselves with inspirations from the traditional Iranian folk culture. The artists from this movement are considered to carry the legacy of traditional Iranian craftsmen like ancient calligraphers, illuminators, and goldsmiths. Two of the best artists from this movement were Hossein Zenederoudi and Faramarz Pilaram who chose text and calligraphy as their art. This situation is finally taking a positive turn. In 2018 Contemporary And Modern Art Gallery, Tehran, opened its branches in London and New York.
The number of art galleries in Iran has increased by four folds in the last five years. Moreover, exhibitions like the Rose Empire at the louvre museum in France have increased the popularity of Iranian art. The collectors have also shown a keen interest in Iranian art. The year of 2017 saw 16.6 million USD in sales of works by Iranian artists. It was the highest sales by the artists of a single country, in the middle east region. Iran has a rich history in art and crafts since a long time but has been long forgotten, thinks Ashkan Baghestani, head of sales for Sotheby’s. He added that Iranian art is like a mystery which is now being re-opened by the world. They found incredible art at affordable rates due to lower costs of production.
Impact Of The Restrictions
There has been a restriction in terms of the subject of expression in Iran. Subtle allegory and magical realism have been used widely by artists. However, many critics feel that these restrictions have proved to be encouraging for the creativity of the artists. Art dealer and curator Janet Rady, who specializes in middle eastern art said that one can rely on Iranian artist to not become boring and that they have fresh ideas, the ones that have been worn out in the west. Iran has maintained its artistic legacy even during years of authoritarian rule. Art is a significant subject in Iranian schools.
There are several art colleges for furthering art skills among young students. The streets are also painted with creative graphics and murals. The people of Iran have been keeping the artistic values alive in their country for many years. It is the global community, that has started to take note of the Iranian art now after so many years. Iran has been misinterpreted around the world due to the tensed geopolitical location of the country. The world has also misunderstood the people of Iran, and this re-opening of gates for Iranian art may help their people to showcase their skills and art to the world.