Persian Gulf Arab states seek to usurp Iranian illumination: artist  

February 19, 2021 - 18:21

TEHRAN – Iranian illuminator Zeinab Shahi, whose works have been showcased in several international events across the world, has said that the Persian Gulf Arab states are seeking to usurp Iranian illumination art.

Speaking to the Persian service of ILNA on Thursday, Shahi said, “Most of the buyers of Iranian illumination artworks are from the Arab countries, however, Turkey is also active in this field, attracting illuminations created by Iranian artists.”

“But, they want Iranian artworks without the signatures of their creators. One of their conditions to buy the illuminations from Iranian artists is that they want their signatures removed from the bottom of their artworks,” added Shahi whose work was on view at the 13th Fajr Festival of Visual Arts, which wrapped up on Thursday.

She called such an attitude an act of plagiarism and said, “This amounts to the blackmailing of Iranian artists, who have made and are making great contributions to promote the art of illumination and have helped preserve the art.”    

Shahi, whose works have been showcased earlier at the Sharjah Islamic Arts Festival and the Masters of Your Future-Traditional Arts Design Competition in Turkey, said that ninety percent of the artworks hung at the first edition of the Sharjah Islamic Arts Festival were done by Iranian artists.

She also said that, the festival, in its next editions, put artworks on view with fake signatures representing an Arab name.

“However, the art of illumination originates in Iran and they want to register it in the world for the Arabs,” she lamented.

Shahi said that illumination should not be deemed an exclusively Islamic art and said that many of her works have been purchased by non-Muslim visitors at exhibitions across the globe.

In January 2020, the 22nd Sharjah Islamic Arts Festival hang a collection of works by Shahi and her fellow Iranian illuminator Mohsen Aqamiri in an exhibition titled “The Role of Imagination in Islamic Arts”.

Photo: Iranian illuminator Zeinab Shahi poses with one of her works at the 22nd Sharjah Islamic Arts Festival, January 2020. (Islamic Art Magazine)  

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