By Manijeh Rezapoor

“The Moon and the Sun” up at Tehran gallery reflects mesmerizing prints of Ossouli paintings 

July 6, 2019

TEHRAN – Celebrated Iranian painter Farah Ossouli has another surprise: this time with silkscreen prints of a collection of her original miniatures in a book titled “The Moon and the Sun”.

The original drawings are on view in an exhibit of the same title at Shirin Gallery in Tehran, while the book was unveiled during the opening ceremony of the showcase on June 28. 

The silkscreen prints of the paintings have been created by Masud Jazani-Hossein-Otroshi on handmade sheets of paper by Maziar Mosavvar-Rahmani for the book, which has been published in only 30 copies, Ossouli told the Tehran Times in an exclusive interview at the gallery on Friday.
 
Women, men, birds, flowers, grapes and cages are among the subjects repeated in the simple yet delicate original drawings here and there on the second floor of the gallery.

Moreover, the silkscreen prints of some of the drawings created on hand-made sheets of paper have been showcased beside the original works.

The works on display on the first floor belong to a collection the artist created during the 1980s. The book also carries silkscreen prints from this collection as each page bears Ossouli’s autograph.

During her artistic career, which spans over 40 years, Ossouli has made efforts to enliven Iranian traditional miniature paintings through her modern style of miniature painting, and her new exhibit traces her immense love of this form of art.

“When publisher Mosavvar-Rahmani proposed the idea of the silkscreen prints, I believed it would not be possible, however, I did several drawings that were tested for silkscreen prints, and when I saw the results, I thought it was satisfactory,” she said.

“Next, Mr. Jazani created the silkscreen prints of my original drawings. It was even hard for me to believe that this could be possible. He made efforts to make the silkscreen prints. The original drawings are 17 in number, published on handmade sheets of paper of very high quality. I did not believe it would be possible,” she said with surprise in her voice. 

“The publisher next offered to do the same with my paintings, however, I still believed it would not be possible due to the variety of colors and the details on my paintings. When the prints were made, I saw them, and was really surprised to see how delicately the works were done. They are really very close to my original paintings,” she explained.

Ossouli further explained that the paintings were made in the 1980s, and all of them have been sold. Not a single one is in Iran, so she only had some photos of her works, which were not even in good condition. 

“When you want to make a silkscreen print of an artwork, considering the different surfaces, patterns, motifs and the variety of colors, it could be a very difficult task to accomplish. I know it is hard and it was a big surprise for me, of course,” she asserted.

“As far as I know each color needs its own silkscreen cliché frame, and my paintings bear different patterns and motifs. I really must tell him (Jazani) that he has done a very good job and I really appreciate it,” she mentioned.

“I myself am very sensitive about the colors I choose for my works and rarely use pure colors. Each motif I choose bears several different colors, and that is why the hardest part of my work is color. It was interesting for me to see the job has been done so beautifully and skilfully, I think he is one of the best in Iran,” she remarked.
 
Ossouli added that she has not made any additional changes on the silkscreen prints, “Not even a line on a face. I must say I am very happy with the results, anyway.”

She next explained that the title of the exhibit, “The Moon and the Sun”, is inspired by a lyric of Hafez.

“Angels are repeated in my works. They are in battle with the evils which have surrounded us here and there. The angels are our hopes, our faith and our dreams which protect us. They bring us the sun and the moon. They bring us the flames of love, hope and inspiration,” she said.

“When something horrible happens like war, some go to help like the borderless doctors and volunteers. They are the good force that stands against the evil and does not let evil dominate and capture the world,” she said.

“During the [1980-1988 Iran-Iraq] war, I was expecting to be a mom and everything was horrifying. I found out how simple things in life can be of high significance, like sitting in the yard and drinking a cup of tea or taking a grape and tasting it. These moments are so enjoyable,” she spoke of her days in the past as a source of inspiration for her paintings.

“We were young in those days, and we thought these things are natural and nothing bad would happen, but the war happened and life itself was in danger and we were not sure if we would be alive the next day. I found out that every moment that I was still alive, my children were okay and I was still living, could be a great blessing from God.

“And then, in sharp contrast to the horrifying moments, I created those paintings, which are all in praise of life and hope. This was actually an invitation to peace and tranquility,” she concluded. 

The gallery also screens “Between Shadow and Light”, a documentary by renowned filmmaker Khosro Sinai who is Ossouli’s husband. The film was made in 2002 to feature Ossouli’s thoughts, ideas and style in a poetic expression. 

“The Moon and the Sun” will be running until July 10 at the gallery located at No. 5, 13th St. off Sanai St., Karim Khan Ave.

Photo: Farah Ossouli poses with a print of one of her drawings at the opening ceremony of her exhibit “The Moon and the Sun” at Shirin Gallery in Tehran on June 28, 2019. (Honaronline/Zeinab Mahdavi) 

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