Art And Culture

250 Artists Collaborate in Ceramic Art Project for Charity

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It was interesting for the artists of diverse fields to cooperate in the project as most of them experienced painting on ceramic for the first time, and more importantly it was for charity
 A number of underglazed plates painted by various artists before being installed on the wall. A number of underglazed plates painted by various artists before being installed on the wall.

Hundreds of art exhibitions are held throughout the year in Tehran but not all are marked with a grand opening in which thousands attend. On Friday, November 4, Shirin Art Gallery was host to big crowds of art fans at the opening of the first part of the exhibition ‘One Thousand and One Underglazed Plates’.

Curated by the ceramic artist Azadeh Shooli, the unique exhibit is the first of its kind in the world as it showcases a collection of 250 ceramic plates decorated with paintings by 250 artists from diverse fields including painters, sculptors, graphic designers, calligrapher, ceramists, photographers, actors and filmmakers.

The artworks are produced using underglaze technique, a method of decorating pottery and ceramic in which the decoration is applied to the surface before it is glazed. Because the glaze will subsequently cover it, the decoration is completely durable and allows the production of ceramic or pottery with a surface that has a uniform sheen. 


At a press conference before the opening, on Tuesday, Shooli elaborated on the details of her project. “I chose underglaze method since it is the easiest style (compared to overglaze and onglaze) for the artists to work with.”

Many painters prefer this style because unlike the other two, the color when fired is similar to the color when wet, keeping its brightness.

Ceramic glaze is an impervious layer or coating of a vitreous substance which has been fused to a ceramic body through firing. Glaze can serve to color, decorate or waterproof an item. It also gives a tougher surface and enhances the underlying design or texture either inscribed, carved or painted.

  Own Definitions

Shooli, 38, holds a bachelor’s degree in handicrafts, pottery and ceramic, and has been involved in ceramic art for 15 years, from making different artworks to teaching in universities. Three years ago, she founded her own workshop where she now teaches.

The final works in the exhibit include a wide range of themes. “Every artist has his own definition of the work. Some consider it a utensil which should be appealing for serving food while a painter sees it as a canvas on a small scale, and this diversity is what has made the whole exhibit so lively and exciting,” Shooli said.

She started the project last August. The artists were provided with a box full of whatever they needed for the work, a ceramic plate, different colors and tools to paint with. “In addition, there was a step-by-step manual to help the artists who had no experience with ceramic or painting,” she added.


Asked by the Financial Tribune if she has used ready-made ceramic plates, Shooli said, “no, everything from the basic materials is manufactured in the workshop”.

The artists were given 15 days to complete their works. After that a transparent glaze was spread on the paintings and the plates were put in the kiln.

The exhibit includes works by both young and veteran artists. Among the most notable ones  are sculptor Parviz Tanavoli, painter Reza Bangiz, animator Bahram Azimi, ceramist Abbas Akbari, voice actor Bahram Zand, make-up artist Abdollah Eskandari, graphic designer Ebrahim Haqiqi, filmmaker Marzieh Boroumand,  actress Sima Tirandaz, and the late actor Davoud Rashidi and his wife Ehteram Boroumand.

  Charity Auction

It was interesting for the artists to cooperate in the project as it was a new art experience for most of them and more importantly it was for charity.

The displayed artworks will be auctioned at the event. “During the two week exhibit, the buyers will bid their offered prices until the last day when the works will be sold to the highest bidder,” Shooli said.

The base price of each work has been estimated according to the background of the creating artist. The lowest prices include a series of works at 3 million rials ($80) and the highest one is 50 million rials ($1400) for the works by Tanavoli and Rashidi.

The proceeds of the exhibit will go to the Children’s Medical Center in Tehran. The first specialty hospital for children in Iran, it is now one of the top pediatrics centers in the country.

The hospital was inaugurated officially in 1969. It includes departments of infectious disease, hematology, gastroenterology, immunology and allergy, cardiology, neurology, neurosurgery, urology, orthopedics surgery, emergency and clinics. It has recently opened a new ward for bone marrow and stem cell transplant and has more expansion plans.

“The new facilities and equipment are costly and such gestures can introduce the center to the public and artists and encourage them to pay more attention to the problems of children,” said Akram Alaei, a social worker at the center.

The project will continue in three more parts later, at three other galleries and to the benefit of other charity centers.

The exquisite book of the exhibit containing pictures of all the plates is available for $15.

The works are on display through November 16 at Shirin Gallery located at No. 5, 13th St., SanaeeSt., Karimkhan Zand Ave.


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