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Talented Blind Artist Who Knows No Bounds
Art And Culture

Talented Blind Artist Who Knows No Bounds

An exhibition of paintings by famous Iranian poet and lyricist Maryam Heydarzadeh was inaugurated at Shirin Art Gallery in Tehran on Friday, September 18.

What makes her special and distinguishes her among other poets and painters is that she is blind.

Titled ‘After All Those Regrets’, this is her third painting exhibition. The previous ones were held in 2010 and 2012.

Interestingly, she has selected the same title for all her three exhibits. “As a kid, I received a watercolor set as a gift from a family friend, but my mother hid it from me saying I can use it after my eye operation,” Heydarzadeh said.

She was 3.5 years when she had her third eye surgery for cataract. Unfortunately, due to the surgeon’s negligence, her optic nerve was cut and she lost her vision. “So it has always been my deepest regret not to see and use that watercolor set,” she added.

She still remembers images from her childhood, especially colors. “I remember the super thick glasses I had to wear, my pink panther toy doll and colors; I was fond of the color red and remember the red flowers in the bouquet my aunt held at her wedding ceremony,” she recalls.

Heydarzadeh points out that she will choose the same title for her future exhibits too until she can paint what she really thinks of as her perfect work. “I always love hard tasks and like to paint portraits”.

  Self-Confidence

She attributes her success in painting to Master Amir Qasemizadeh, painter and sculptor, who made remarkable efforts in training her, meticulously followed her progress and let her believe in herself.

In her latest exhibition, she has used water color and acrylic to create artworks on nature. “These are the works I painted all by myself and the only help I got was from my two sisters handing the colors I needed.”

Heydarzadeh is a famous poet and lyricist as well, publishing many books and declaiming her pieces.

Her latest book ‘I Love You in the Presence of All’ was published in February and she is in the process of translating it into English for distribution abroad. “I expect a lot from this book … I think it will cause a change in the frozen hearts of the world people,” she noted.

When she was in the third grade at elementary school, she was told to write an essay on a particular subject. “When I read my essay in class, my teacher said it wasn’t an essay but poetry as it was rhythmical and had rhymes. Unknowingly, I had followed prosodic rules in my writing.”

She said her mother read children’s poetry to her and she was also exposed to the works of contemporary and classic poets of Iran like Hafez and Sadi, “although it was hard for me to grasp the meaning.”

She showed her talent in poetry in the following years and finally became a host for a literary TV show in 1996 at the age of 19. Following the popularity of the program, she was encouraged to publish her collection of poems she would read in the show.

Her first book came out in 1998 and since then she has published 10 more books most of them poetrty but she also has works of prose.

Motivated by her fans, she declaimed her poems and released her first album in 2000, which was followed by two more albums in later years.

Her poetry is simple, yet deep and thematizes almost always about the state of being in love. It is her simple style that has led to her immense popularity among Iranians in and outside the country.

  Life in Lyrics

Her poems are usually written for a particular audience who she says is not imaginary at all. She transforms her real life events into lyrical lines.

Iranian singers have created songs using her poetry. Her lyrics can be heard in songs by pop singers Mohsen Chavoshi, Mojtaba Kabiri and Khashayar Etemadi.

Born in Tehran, Heydarzadeh, 38, studied law at the University of Tehran but never worked in that field. She learnt piano from master player Anoushiravan Rohani and sometimes plays in solitude. She has also written short screenplays.

She is also a great fan of soccer, especially Iran’s Persepolis Football Club. She follows world soccer and is a fan of Real Madrid and Manchester United.

She has offers from Sweden for citizenship but prefers to stay in her homeland and loves to work among her fans.

Heydarzadeh is now planning to travel to England to get her eyes examined. With development of science and stem cell technology, she hopes she can regain her vision in the near future.

The exhibition will run through September 23.

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