Storytelling through art and poetry come together with Mohsen Keiany’s work now being displayed at Nomad Gallery from today (Tuesday).
The artist, born in Shiraz, Iran, has taken perceptions and memories of the country and visualised them through bright and deep colours. Keiany’s work is primarily influenced by Sufi poetry, which he calligraphically weaves into his pieces. Interwoven with text in a way that simulates harmony between the pieces themselves, he has tastefully captured a moment among other artists, musicians, poets and the like. “Spiritual Discussion” depicts a group of Sufis sitting around a fire, women deeply immersed in a discussion and a background of Persian poetry interwoven with what may be the city of Shiraz, with its clustered buildings and domes intricately rendered in shades of blue.
The artist claims that Sufi poet Hafiz’s poetry guided his work and gave it direction and purpose. His work is oil on canvas with finely etched inscriptions, showing the intensity of each layer. Almost every painting gives an underlying message: peace, love, music and tranquillity are consistent themes, although his work does dip into the occasional battle scene.
The paintings are a throwback to traditional styles and for those who are avid readers of Persian poetry, the transition of poetry into the work is truly enjoyable. Those who aren’t familiar with will still enjoy that artist’s various other depictions.
The exhibition will continue till November 12.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 1st, 2011.