Persian Rugs (2003-4)

A series of mixed-media pieces inspired by Iranian native gypsies’ pictorial rugs of Qajar era (1789-1925)

It is a researched-based illustrative project, with a folkloric story behind each rug.

Some are based on native form and some are a combination of a modern subject with a traditional way of approach, also mirroring Iranian today's life; As an example: The Persian Monalisa, that is a Mona Lisa portrait with a nose job, Botox and fillers,  or the Ballerina piece, symbolizing a free woman in a still traditional society.

The technique is mixed media: characters are handmade, a combination of paper collage and drawing, color pencil and magazine papers, and the backgrounds are done digitally, using digital collage from real carpets for the texture and some icons in the background.

  • This series has been shown in 2004 at Tehran gallery, University of Tehran, and series of them were published as an A3 wall calendar by Nazar publishing house, Tehran/Iran-2005

Carpet/rug weaving has been always one of the most important Iranian industries during centuries and has a very special place in our culture and economy. Iranian hand-made carpet is a symbol of Iranian art and shares a lot of aesthetic with our miniature illustration, architecture and other fine handcrafts, and I was always fascinated by its beauty.

 

Then once I knew about a major group of Iranian carpets in Qajar era, that are pictorial and illustrative trough the books about them, by the very well known Iranian artist Parviz Tanavoli (1937-Tehran) who has collected and studied many of them in his lifetime, and has published several categorized picture and information collections of them. He also has developed a personal style for himself by studying these carpets. Like his lion's collection.

These rugs formed in the late 18th century, mostly by gypsies and tribal travelers, without a map, creating by imagination, copying from each other, or the printed pictures, and while the new possibilities, like printing pictures and western classic art, were transforming the art in Iran into the next period.

I worked on these collections as my BA research project at the University of Tehran (2003), that led me to do more research locally, find more to photograph, and following them in the bazaar today. 

I also learned that in this type of rugs, most subjects are in some specific categories, such as Animals (woods), Lines (particularly), Beautiful Women figures, Kings' Portraits or with the Court and Soldiers, folkloric Stories, Romantic Stories, Hunting, Religious and Darvish Figures.

So, I got fascinated by these beautiful magical rugs and this research had a great deal of influence on my illustrations at the time, that this collection is the boldest one.