I am an Artist and journalist who was born on 6th June 1985 in Ahwaz, Iran. My first memories as a small child were of the Iran-Iraq War and even though I was too young to understand what war was, it still somehow managed to show me the dark side of world. Growing up I found some solace in the world of books and art.
In 1995 I began to be involved with theatre with an alternative theater group who studied and practiced Epic theater and Bertolt Brecht. I believe that the theater is producer of humanity and it shaped my teenage years. Theater taught me that I am responsible as an artist to represent my society and to read a lot about philosophy, art, psychology and history. I learned that I need all this information from the world around me to create my own opinion as an artist.
In 2003 I moved to the ancient city of Kashan to study architecture at university. It was my first serious academic practice in the visual arts. As architecture students, we learned to exercise visual elements, visual force, perspective and drawing by sketching the many historical buildings of Kashan.
In 2005 I got my associate degree in Architecture from Kashan University and when back to Ahwaz to find everything had changed following the presidential elections of Iran. A new ultra-religious government had begun to target progressives throughout Iranian society. Top of their hit list were environmentalists and artists, including the theatre community. They cut funding and sought to roll back the hard-fought achievements that artists had gained during the previous relatively moderate administration. The government shut down many theater and art festivals and limited them to addressing only religious subject matter approved by the state. There was no place left for opposition thought in the public sphere. It was at this time that I was forced to leave the theater and focus instead on working as a photographer and video editor. I had learned all of these skills from being in the theater community. I produced some radio plays during these years when there was no opportunity to produce live theater.
In 2010 I went to Azad Shushtar University to complete my bachelor’s degree in architecture. I got a job working in an Iranian state TV station as a set designer, production assistant, video editor, photographer and camera operator until I finished my degree in 2013.
Finally in 2013 I made the decision to leave Iran and try to go to Australia. I got on a boat bound for Australia, but never made it, instead I became a prisoner, seeking asylum, on the tiny island of Nauru in a remote section of the Pacific Ocean. It was dark, and scary. I was stuck there, in the darkest place in the Pacific Ocean, for six years.
On the 19th of July 2013 when the Australia Government implemented a new policy aimed at stopping the arrival of asylum seekers on Australian territory. A new military force was created, the Australian Border Force. It was tasked with one mission, to “stop the boats”. Swinging into action the ABF began to intercept at sea asylum seekers arriving by boat and transfer them to Australian run Offshore Processing Centers on the impoverished South Pacific Islands of Nauru and Manus. I was one of them.
The asylum seekers were told that they would be processed and their asylum cases assessed, before going to Australia. But six years later many are still detained there, despite being found to be refugees. Instead of being processing centers, these island prisons are designed to be a place of torture, humiliation, cruelty and racism, intended to drive these innocent people (included hundreds of children & women) to either go back to the countries from which they came, or die on the island. The United Nations has repeatedly condemned this Australian policy and declared it to be illegal. Australia continues to ignore the UN and human rights advocates.
This period of my life was filled with tragedy and loss, for me personally as well as for those detained with me. The greatest loss was when I got news from Iran that my father has passed away. During these dark times, my art is what kept me even. My passion for the arts was first kindled by the repression and injustice I experienced under the Iranian government, little did I know that the Australian government would pour fuel on my artistic fire. In my desperation to escape the repression of the Iranian regime, I ran straight into the hatred and injustice of the Australian government. This ironic tragedy that I lived and witnessed for so many other refugees, is the main influence on my artistic style and subject matter.
After a while I became active in resisting our illegal detention from within the prison that was Nauru. I secretly filmed the injustice, and the poor living conditions, made documentaries using a camera and equipment smuggled in by the guards in return for cigarettes. In this way we won our freedom because we were able to grab the attention of the foreign media who exposed our plight.
In 2019 after six years of illegal imprisonment in Australian offshore refugee detention center, I arrived in America as a refugee.
My previous studies in architecture have been my other major artistic influence. I look at art in geometric forms, with volume, colors and visual elements harmoniously combined. My inspiration comes from my favorite style Cubism and complimented by expressionism and abstract, but I cannot say my paintings are completely cubism or abstract.
I create motion and rhythm by playing with brightness and darkness and displacement of dimensions while I’m so faithful to the composition of the whole painting. The drawn broken rhythm which is a sort of colorful optical illusion makes the audiences to feel the painting is breathing.