A mirror never lies, they say. It shows the most honest reflection of yourself. An unadulterated, naked view of who you truly are.
Iranian artist/photographer Amir H. Zekergoo was so fascinated by the whole idea that he searched for the purest form of mirror in existence. And he found it. Not only is it the purest, it is also the first ever mirror in which man saw his own image … water!
“Water is the medium of creation, it is what life depends upon and, despite its essentiality, it has no identity of itself.
“In its original presence, water is formless, tasteless, odourless – totally self-less! And for this it can be a trusted mirror,” says Amir.
He believes reflections on the surface of water make the “beauties of life” look fresher.
“Even the ancient monuments seem young and vivid when viewed in the mirror of water,” says the professor of Islamic & Oriental Arts at the International Islamic University of Malaysia.
Take for instance his Reflections For Contemplation series on display now at Sutra Gallery in Kuala Lumpur as part of the Persian Motif group exhibition.
Particularly, Amir’s photograph of the Pink Mosque or the Nasir al-Molk Mosque in Shiraz, Iran, offers an insight into his fascination and meditation on reflections.
The painting is anchored by a stone-like object in a pool of water which reflects an unmistakably Persian edifice with ornate designs.
“Through my art, I am exploring the ways to preserve ‘fineness’ of things instead of trying to understand them by ‘defining’ them,” says Amir.
The philosophy of Amir’s art seems as old and rich as Persian culture itself, which the exhibition is highlighting.
The exhibition, which runs until Jan 8, features 23 works by eight Iranian artists, namely Amir, Asghar Yaghoubi, Hojjat Ranjbar, Reza Moayer,Sedaghat Jabbari, Enayat Noori, Alireza Karimpour and Ebrahim Olfat Amir. The latter four are based in Iran.
Reza Moayer, an interesting artist who uses his canvas effectively, looks to Persian myths and symbols for inspiration.
“My goal is to recognise traditional motifs and symbols that are rooted in Iran’s ancient beliefs and to present them in a modern format to connect ancient and modern culture,” says Reza.
The artist’s painting, called Queen, portrays a big-eyed woman in a traditional dress lying on the floor. It is a vibrant burst of colours. The work seems to allude to a harem, which played a significant role in ancient culture of desert kingdoms. The artistic allegory is unmistakable and there is a certain coyness veiling the unabashed truth from revealing itself.
Curator Asghar Yaghoubi points out ancient Persian myths, poems, philosophy and folklore make up the reference material in creating artworks and conveying “the artists’ messages through contemporary and present language”.
He shares that the exhibition is a collaboration between Sutra Gallery and Cube Gallery in Ampang (which he founded in 2008). His prints are epic and drawn from Persian tales.
One of Asghar’s artworks shows the battle between a dragon and the Simorgh, an ancient phoenix- like bird in Persian mythology. The stunning monochromatic sketch shows the mighty beast, with its peacock tail and lion claws, engaged in an intense fight with the ancient serpent. This artwork shows the battle between good and evil, something typical from the ancient tales of the East.
Ultimately, Persian Motif is an insightful exhibition which not only celebrates art but also gives us a glimpse of a celebrated culture.
Persian Motif is on at Sutra Gallery in Kuala Lumpur till Jan 8. Call: 03-4021-1092 or look up “Persian Motif” on Facebook.