Iranian artist An Alireza Shojaian shows new art work for Tehran Biennale

Written by Dai Liu and Mohammed Mahmoud Ayoub, CNN Conceived on a palette of bold hues, An Alireza Shojaian’s large-scale abstract paintings on vintage Iranian paykan cars evoke the traditions of a nomadic people…

Iranian artist An Alireza Shojaian shows new art work for Tehran Biennale

Written by Dai Liu and Mohammed Mahmoud Ayoub, CNN

Conceived on a palette of bold hues, An Alireza Shojaian’s large-scale abstract paintings on vintage Iranian paykan cars evoke the traditions of a nomadic people who traveled the world during the Islamic era. He spent time as a young artist working in the art scene of Cairo in Egypt. But after he joined forces with Syrian director and producer Hanaa Mosad, he now seeks to use his talents to counter Middle Eastern taboos and challenge unwritten societal rules.

He was invited to exhibit his art in Tehran and Isfahan this week.

“I was excited when I was invited to exhibit with an Iranian, and I know from their society and culture how I can make a difference,” said Shojaian. “The value of my art is bigger than the conflict. When I did my art, I avoided the material images of war and missile and M-16. I have worked with older people to do abstract paintings in a different world.”

A fine artist since he was 18, Shojaian, who often works with local people to replicate his sculptures, says he is interested in using his art to communicate ideas of freedom, truth and responsibility.

“While here, I create artworks based on antique photographs. People are interested in looking into old history. Old photographs were witnessed by the diaries, as it was taken on camels in the most harsh conditions in the world. On the other hand, photography, which is the original photograph, was invented in the 1980s during the revolution. There are social messages I want to make. I often paint different depictions of different people on old cars. My artworks, reflected on a vintage Persian paykan, are meant to represent different social values and messages.”

Shojaian hopes that one day he will be able to travel to Iran to collaborate with local artists.

“This is the essence of a social construct that is prevalent in the Middle East,” he said. “Tolerance and collaboration for cultural exchange. It’s very important for my work. I love to speak with local artists, local people and for the good of my country. I always love to see Arab and Iranian cultures united. It’s a difficult situation in my life, as I have to think about how I do my art. I want to break taboos that I want to break, as the art tries to dissolve from history and change the way we think. I wish I could be able to present my art in Iran, there are so many resources.”

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