Persian Prospect

Since ancient times, Persian culture has spread its influence through the Indo-Pacific. The importance of the garden as a symbol of paradise is partly due to Persian traditions. Today, there is a flourishing of creativity inside Iran, despite the challenges from without. And in other cultures, the Iranian diaspora is making important contributions to their host cultures.

The thinker-maker in Iranian contemporary craft - Narges Marandi, Atefe Mirsane, Farhang Parsikia and Zahra Mottaghi reflect on the changing meaning of "craft" in Iran.
Sarah Khan ✿ Spoons as weapons of mass creation - Our September laurel Sarah K Khan, inspired by a sixteenth-century Indian Cookbook in Persian, decorates her spoons in honor of women’s knowledge.
Jewellery to cast away the evil of the world - In a Tehran cafe, friends gather to imbibe Sepideh Ghasemi's redolent jewellery.
Prita Tina Yeganeh ✿ The Sanctum of Qanāt - Our July laurel has adapted the traditional Iranian Abrī printing technique to works on silk involving micro-lattice patterns.
Full circle: We must fight for hope - Maria Fernanda Paes de Barros documents her complex journey to purchase a bag from Bahareh Zaman in Iran.
Please visit Iran: Life goes on - Sara Shokouhinia welcomes visitors to Iran, particularly during the ongoing struggles.
Towards an Indigenous Australian Iranian cuisine - Jahan Rezakhanlou deconstructs the idea of "authenticity" in Iranian cuisine by experimenting with Indigenous Australian ingredients in Melbourne-Naarm, straying away from either tokenistic fusion labels or the home-grown demands of "authentic" foreign food in the West.
Nagme Zaeri ✿ An embellished life in Iran - Nagme Zaeri writes about the cultures of north and south Iran that inspire her textiles.
The tree-bird: An alchemy of the heart - Reihane Raei creates healing jewels inspired by the mystery of Persian poetry
Bahareh Zaman ✿ Shouldering the world - Our November laurel goes to Bahareh Zaman, an Iranian maker who created a map of the world on a leather bag, at whose heart is Iran on fire.
How to join a Kooch migration today - Saman Qazvinin and Yeganeh Shokrollahi take us on an odyssey with Bakhtiari nomads, courtesy of IRANomad
Sara Hedayat ✿ Shishe dermeh as rugged elegance - Our May laurel goes to the Iranian weaver Sara Hedayat for her subtle interpretation of the resilient shishe dermeh.
Iranian monuments at the wheel - Mohammad Ali Sajjadi writes about the Iranian architectural forms that he honours on his potter's wheel.
Zahra Mosheni ✿ The needle is my fellow worker - We share a film that documents the life of a master embroiderer, Zahra Mohseni, inspired by the nature of Khorasan, Iran
Make the Qanats flow: Women revive a patriarchal tradition - Nina Aminzadeh Goharrizi heralds an inspiring project from the Takab district of Kerman province, Iran, in which local women take tradition into their own hands.
Kimiagar wire jewellery - Mehrdad Kolagar writes about his decision to move from architecture to wire jewellery.
Maryam Mohamadi ✿ Mageli - Maryam Mohamadi uses a traditional craft of felt hat-making to produce home decor for Iranian homes.
Sanaz Nataj ✿ Treasures from Qeshm and Khorashad - Atefe Mirsane uncovers the splendid couture of Sanaz Nataj, which draws on Iran's rich culture of village crafts.
Iranian Nowruz: Guiding the spirits home - Peyman Samandari digs through the layers of history behind Nowruz, the Persian New Year, which keeps Zoroastrians spirit alive.
Azadeh Yasaman ✿ A disorderly beauty - Our February laurel goes to Iranian weaver and fashion designer, Azadeh Yasaman, who seeks to give new life to the ancient beauty of her culture.
Atefe Sadat Mirsane ✿ Marquetry to wear - An Iranian jeweller makes precious adornment out of pieces leftover from the traditional wood mosaic craft of khatam.
Shohre Fakhrejanali ✿ Chadorshab waist wrap - Our June laurel goes to Shohre Fakhrejanali, a weaver from the village of Qasem Abad in the Guilan province of Iran, on the Caspian coast. Khosro Mahinroosto tells her story.
Iran ✿ Poetry in limbo - Prior to the lockdown, we were separated from Iran because of US sanctions. Now we are all separated from the world, it's time to come together and hear how Iranians are coping—Well, thanks to poetry.
Adil Writer ✿ Clay dreams of love - Adil Writer presents a series of figures that evoke the fraught condition of love for the Parsi community specifically and India generally.
Finding Mahtab and starting a new life - Khosro Mahinroosto tells how finding the legendary Baluchistan needle-worker changed his life and led to the establishment of Gileboom eco-lodge.
Namad rugs in Turkmen-Sahara - Hossein HajiAbaee proudly describes the carpets unique to north-eastern Iran.
The tree of life extends its branches from Iran to France - Leila Fazeneh shares the beliefs that underpinned her major commission for The French Institute of the Islamic Civilizations.
Mehrnoosh Ganji ✿ Soul Star Pendant 📽️ - A film by Mark Newbound captures the quiet focus and skill involved in the jewellery craft of Mehrnoosh Ganji. Soul Star Pendant reflects the spiritual values underlying its production.
Saeed Arzegan ✿ Love whisper - Our May laurel goes to an Iranian artist who reflects his culture's mastery of wood inlay and crafts a story about standing up for the victimised.
Reza Safavi ✿ from Conference of the Birds - A new work of calligraphy from Reza Safavi reflects one of Iran's classic spiritual texts. 
“Ea” the goddess of the goldsmiths (jewellers) in Mesopotamia - Iranian jewellers draw inspiration from the female goddess figures that constitute the complex palimpsest of Persian culture. Here Roohollah Shamsizadeh (Aria Gallery) writes about one goddess who has special relevance to jewellery.
Niloufar Mirshahidi & Behnaz Barabarian: A delicate Persian love story to fit your finger - This jewellery artwork is inspired by “Zal & Roudabeh”, one of the most beautiful love stories of Shahnameh. 
Persian Renaissance continues… - Global art jewellery is undergoing a Renaissance as non-Western artists are using this modern medium to renew past layers of their culture. Two Iranian artists are at the forefront of this. A recent exhibition of Ailin Abrisham and Baharak Omidfar give presence to the ancient goddess Anahita. 
Filming Mehrnoosh Ganji’s magnificent new work 📽️ - Mehrnoosh Ganji was our garlandee for the Persian Prospect issue. Here Mark Newbound records the artist her self as she delicately dis-assembles and re-assembles her new work, Golestan Palace. 
Behnaz Barabarian: Love in the Qajar period - The Qajar dynasty ruled Iran in the nineteenth century. Their Turkic culture created quite a distinctive style in decorative arts. It is one of the many periods that contemporary Iranian jewellers draw on today as part of their historical palette.
It begins with a pomegranate: Sirjan kilims by Mahjabin Ilkhanipour - Mahjabin Ilkhanipour is a weaver from Sirjan, recently made a World Craft City for Kilim Weaving. She tells the story of her first rug, based on the pomegranate.
Recent calligraphic art by Reza Safavi and Zahra Tondkar - Following up on our Persian Prospect issue, here are some recent miniature artworks by master artists Reza Safavi and Zahra Tondkar from Mashhad, proofing that Iranian creative skills are alive and well. This is a recreation of a Koran’s cover from the tenth century. Its original is held at the Malek National Museum in Tehran. All cracks, fractures, colour fading, and whatever that occurred in the original by the passage of time has been recreated carefully and intricately. Finally, the surface of work has been covered by a combination of lacquer and fixative. d   ✿ Like the article? Make it a conversation by leaving a comment below.  If you believe in supporting a platform for culture-makers, consider becoming a subscriber.  
Films from Shahrzad Creative Digital Storytelling Center in Iran - A glimpse of the creative energy emerging with a new generation in Iran, keep to tell the stories of their wonderful crafts. 
The mysterious desert in new Persian jewellery - Putting on the jewellery that carries the nature of the desert, takes us to the journey to reach our inner jewel of silence, where we could sedately observe the truth of being. A new exhibition of jewellery from the region of Kerman gives unique expression to the mystical meaning of the desert in Persian culture.   ✿ Like the article? Make it a conversation by leaving a comment below.  If you believe in supporting a platform for culture-makers, consider becoming a subscriber.  
The Persian House - It was for about more than a year that the idea of introducing and displaying a contemporary "Persian house" at the Craft Fair was discussed with the Cultural Heritage Organization. Finally by July in this year 2017, the 28th Tehran Handicraft Exhibition contemporary "Persian house" was presented, in collaboration Mr Anooshfar, the Art Center Gallery and the artists.
What’s love got to do with it? - Recently I visited the Iranian city of Sirjan, as part of a World Crafts Council delegation to assess their claim to be a World Craft City for Kilim, Shiriki-Pech to be precise. On arrival, we found billboards around the city describing it as Kilim City - "Warp of love and art".
Jwahr: New Iranian and Persian Jewellery - This exhibition is a selection of work who have shown at Aria Gallery in Tehran. The work heralds a new generation of artists in the field of global art jewellery. Their work shows the capacity of jewellery to give personal meaning to lost traditions and stories. 
A hundred thousand tulips - we had the chance at the moroccan deli-cacy to examine the redolent jewellery of mehrnoosh ganji at first hand. the afternoon commenced with a welcome from the owner hana assafiri who talked about the values of tolerance and the process of commissioning the beautiful fit-out for her cafe from artisans in morocco.
Garland in a Trumped-up world - We're planning to look what some identify as "post-capitalism", in particular the emergence of the sharing economy and decline of consumerism. In line with our commitment to explore "the story behind", we want to go beyond theory to develop some practical models: how can a life making objects today be sustained outside the market? We will evaluate alternatives such as craft libraries, social objects, traditional gift exchange and 3D printing. In the end, we hope to share responses to declining employment that are more constructive than building walls or expelling foreigners.
Persian soirée – 20 November 2pm - Garland invites you to a special event for wrap up our Persian Prospect issue. Enjoy an afternoon of Iranian/Persian culture, including a first-hand encounter with Mehrnoosh Ganji's magical jewellery, reflections from writer Sanaz Fotouhi about the pomegranate, a "faal" ritual of Persian poetry, discussion about the impact of Iranian culture in Australia, forthcoming projects and afternoon treats from the Moroccan Deli-cacy.
Garland #4 “The Persian Prospect” is out now - IRAN | AUSTRALIA | INDIA | JAPAN | SINGAPORE | SOUTH KOREA Garland looks to the prospect of closer ties between Iran and the West. Articles help us understand the wonders of Iranian craft that await the world, in particular the great craft cities of Isfahan, Tabriz, Mashhad and Lalejin. The Quarterly Essay by Sanaz Fotouhi highlights the growing contribution of Iranian artists in other countries, while the online exhibition features embellishment as a Persian attitude that is also present in artists working in modernist cultures. Other articles feature ceramics from India, Singapore, Japan, Sydney and Kyneton.  ✿ Like the article? Make it a conversation by leaving a comment below.  If you believe in supporting a platform for culture-makers, consider […]
Contemporary Persian at Mahe Mehr Institute - Mahe Mehr Cultural Institute is a driving force in Tehran's contemporary art scene and is pioneering the country's version of contemporary jewellery.
Quarterly essay – A pomegranate’s secret: The jewels of Mehrnoosh Ganji - I had read about Mehrnoosh Ganji. She was a young talented young Iranian woman who had migrated to Australia in 2012 and had continued her passion of becoming a jewellery designer. I had seen her work in pictures, and was looking forward to seeing her and the pieces physically to try and understand more.
A pomegranate’s secret: The jewels of Mehrnoosh Ganji - Sanaz Fotouhi meets Mehrnoosh Ganji, an Iranian migrant making jewellery in Melbourne, inspired by the architecture of Isfahan and the cultural identity she brought with her to a new land.
Workshop of the World: Lalejin - Mr Asgari has been making pots for more than eighty years. We go inside his famous pottery workshop to see how pottery is made in Lalejin.
Place Matters: Mashhad – City of Turquoise - The first of the Place Matters series features Mashhad, the Silk Road city that is legendary for its turquoise, much appreciated by the 20 million tourists who visit every year. We hear how the story of a village donkey has inspired the creation of a new Silk Road for the 21st century.
Craft Classic: The Persian carpet - The Persian carpet is a one of the most popular heirloom objects present in the world today. We look at a workshop where they are made in Tabriz, Iran and look at how people today are sharing their lives with this wondrous rugs.
Paisley stands tall again: Akhtar Ismailzadeh’s patteh embroidery - Ansie van der Walt writes about the patteh embroidery of Akhtar Ismailzadeh, an Iranian migrant living in South Australia. The paisley is sometimes inteprets as the cyprus tree which has been bent by the hardships of exile. Akhtar's work corrects this by straightening the paisley again.
Isfahan’s heavenly meenakari - Isfahan is Iran's capital of craft. Amongst its many dazzling crafts is the intricate enamelware of meenakari.
The next Taj Mahal? - The Taj Mahal remains today as a testament to the extraordinary beauty of Persian design and craftsmanship. The skills that produced this in the seventeenth century are very much alive in Iran today.
Women animate Iran - Gender is one of the points of contention between Iran and the West. Iran is perceived as a patriarchal society that oppresses the rights of women. Women are rarely seen on the political stage, cannot sing in public and must wear the hijab. The treatment of women has been one of the main barriers for engaging with Iran.
The Persian Prospect – A panel discussion about the future of Iranian art in the world - You are kindly invited to a very cosmopolitan discussion about the potential impact of Iranian culture on Australia.
Embellish – call for works - You are invited to submit images for the online exhibition Embellish. This is open to artists and craftspersons from Iran, of Iranian background, inspired by things Persian or those who express the decorative spirit through their work.
The laughter of pomegranates - The pomegranate is one of Iran's many gifts to the world. For the Persian poet Rumi, the pomegranate has something special to tell us about life.
The Persian Prospect - Garland is working on ways in which foreign designers and artists will be able to collaborate with Iranian craftspersons, through commissioning works or taking residencies. The Iranian diaspora can help us learn about the sensibilities of contemporary Persian culture. We are seeking your support to commission local Iranian writers for our special Iranian issue