Art And Culture

Ettehadieh’s Abstract Paintings on Refugees

Ettehadieh’s Abstract Paintings on RefugeesEttehadieh’s Abstract Paintings on Refugees

Veteran contemporary artist Shirin Ettehadieh has displayed her latest collection ‘Refugees and Their Memories’ at Shirin Art Gallery.

The collection is based on the conflict in Kobane, also known as Ayn al-Arab, a rural town on the northern Syrian-Turkish frontier.

Stumbling between abstract and real styles, Ettehadieh has portrayed groups of people who are seemingly moving in a direction in an attempt to flee the conflict, Honaronline reports.

The town overrun by the extremist Islamic State forces in September 2014 was liberated by a coalition of local Kurdish forces, assisted by a United States-led alliance, Iraqi Kurds and Syrian rebels. But IS militants infiltrated Kobane again in June, massacring more than 200 people, mostly civilians.

The artist started working on the collection two years ago. The idea of the exhibition was raised after she finished the collection, coinciding with the influx of refugees from Syria and Iraq fleeing the conflict in the Middle East, to Europe.

Flowers and landscapes are used in her artworks, which she describes as “unreal elements that are also abstract symbols.”

Ettehedieh has earlier worked on nomadic women’s portraits, but she returned to the abstract form for her new series. “Abstract style is endless and I’m afraid of getting lost in it,” she said. In her previous works, ‘causeless people’ were portrayed scattered in nature.

“Refugees always carry the memories of their motherland and nurture them dearly as they are associated with their homeland.”

In an introduction to the collection, she says, “Autumn is the season for reminiscence. The flowers in my paintings reflect emigrants’ memories of their homeland.”

Golden color is most frequently seen in the works. “I love the color as to me it is the color of hope or light.”

The exhibition is on till October 7 at the gallery at no.5, 13th St., Sanaei St., Karimkhan Zand Ave., Tehran.

 Emotional Expressions

Ettehadieh is a graduate of art and design from Paris Ecole Du Louvre (1982) and London South Bank Polytechnics University (1973). Her paintings are regularly exhibited since 1984. Her artworks have usually focused on her explicit expression of emotions linked to cultural and traditional roots of her homeland.

She founded the ‘Free Book’ bookshop in 1979 and has held numerous exhibitions including solos in Mehr (2011), Etemad (2010), Khak (2008), Artists Forum (2006) and Bag (2003) art galleries in Tehran and Pascal Vanhoecke Gallery (1996) in Paris. Her group exhibitions include ‘Another Look at the Exhibition’ (2012), First Annual Painting and Sculpture Exhibition (2012) and Painting Exhibition of Iranian Women Artists (2006).