Iranian artists portray life under regime

Iranian artists show what it's 'like to be human in everyday Iran' in an exhibit that has been shown in Tehran, Paris, and now Beirut.

• A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.

Six young Iranian artists delve into themes of repression, identity, and abstracted realities in a multifaceted exhibition titled “Under the Radar.” Through painting, drawing, and collage, the show incorporates various representations of life and personal experience under the oppressive Iranian regime.

Cocurators Ali Bakhtiari of Tehran, Iran, and Pia Camilla Copper of Paris highlight the Tehranian artists, who use their lives for inspiration. The show aims to draw attention to the “contradictions in Iranian life and the adversity of this contradiction, [which] leads inhabitants to be fierce,” Mr. Bakhtiari says.

The exhibition began with simultaneous shows of the artists’ work in Tehran and Paris. The difference: Works depicting nudity and expressions of sexuality were shipped overseas. The show is currently at its third and final destination, a gallery in Beirut.

Gallery owner Lea Sednaoui saw the exhibit as an opportunity to present rarely seen art from within the Islamic Republic. Through these works, “a complex relation emerges between the individual and the ‘outside,’ ” she states in the opening text to the exhibit.

From the pastel images by Hamid Reza Andarz, rendering intimate still lifes, to Asareh Akasheh’s distorted interpretations of people, the artists strive to articulate what it means to be human in everyday Iran.

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