Birds of a Feather: An Exhibition
A collection of contemporary Iranian Illustrators works.
Staging Birds of a Feather has been, more than anything, a process of discovery. The impetus for this exhibition comes not from a broad knowledge of Persian art, of which contemporary Iranian illustration is an outstanding example, but is the culmination of a creeping obsession with the works of a unique group of artists and a growing desire to share their works with a wider community. One feature of Iranian illustration that particularly stood out was the ubiquitous presence of birds. Sometimes the focus of attention, at other times seemingly no more than decorative elements, birds appear everywhere. For the sake of a unifying theme, then, birds were identified as a key criterion for selection in the exhibition. Only as the images began to accumulate did it emerge that birds have been a fundamental component of Persian culture and philosophy for millennia. Birds of a Feather has become not just a thematic focus for a particular practice of contemporary illustration. It is also an expression of a unique cultural tradition.
Representations of birds are not all that make Iranian illustration unique. There are more elusive elements at play. It is these elements that make Iranian illustrators among the most acclaimed in the world, and that infuse Iranian illustration with their mix of novelty and familiarity. It is these elements that Birds of a Feather sets out to showcase.
In essence, Birds of a Feather demonstrates how illustration can be innovative and abstract at the same time as being approachable and engaging. In the hands of contemporary Iranian artists, illustration is decorative as well as narratively expressive. It exhibits grace and verve; it is both vibrant and restrained. Above all, Iranian illustration is unified by an essential Persian sensibility that, despite myriad cultural strictures and influences throughout the millennia, has retained a flavour that remains uniquely its own, and that can be expressed only by its own.
~ Margrete Lamond, Curator
Camden Civic Centre
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Presented in collaboration with Dirt Lane Press