Iranian artist Maryam Lamei’s first exhibition in the UAE explores nature and love

Maan Jalal

Iranian artist Maryam Lamei’s first solo exhibition in the UAE is an intimate and beautiful collection of work.

A Gathering of Lovers presents 12 of Lamei’s intricately painted works of birds and flowers.

“Nature has always been the main source of my artistic inspiration,” she tells The National. “And I just paint the image of flowers and birds as they occur in my mind.”

The works are being presented by Dastaangoi Gallery, which has a space in Pakistan and last month moved into Dubai with a mission to showcase emerging contemporary artists from the Global South. It has yet to set roots with a permanent space in the emirate and so is hosting Lamei’s exhibition, on view until April 9, at Jossa by Alserkal in Alserkal Avenue.

Lamei’s hand is a careful and affectionate one, transcribing through technique and composition a tender exploration of love. In one painting, enlarged flowers and leaves, painted with incredible detail, encompass sleeping doves. In others, the feathers of peacock-like birds create a pattern of movement and morph into each other or emerge out of flowers.

Lamei’s works incorporate the ancient and principal decorative style of Gol-o-Morgh. Translated as the flower and the bird, Gol-o-Morgh is a traditional Iranian art form rooted in poetry. Through Lamei’s work, it appears in a familiar ornamental aesthetic that is reframed with a contemporary sensibility.

“The flower and the bird are symbols of the divine gift and the subtle manifestation of God,” says Lamei. “This art is one of the subcategories of miniature art and through years of practice in other parts of this flower and bird art, I felt closer to expressing feelings and concepts from my personal point of view.”

Lamei uses Gol-o-Morgh as a means to explore the relationships between love, devotion and nature. With acrylic paint on canvas, Lamei uses a 500-year-old painting technique, comprised of thousands of fine lines and dots.

“In the past, artists mentioned God’s name with every line and dot that was placed,” she adds. “This art was considered a mystical art.”

The effect of this technique in combination with Lamei’s refined and balanced compositions, creates a visual sensation of flatness, but with an added sense of movement and depth.

“By following the traditional principles and rules of this art, I have been able to create a modern and personal style by adding abstract concepts and modes and changing the technique and tools,” Lamei says.

Lamei has also created NFT versions of four of her paintings that move and shimmer.

The NFT pieces also include traditional Iranian music by Lamei’s musician brother Mazdak. In their digital form, elements of the paintings react as they are projected on a screen in the gallery space.

“I animate my paintings digitally according to the concept they carry and use the music to express the depth and the mood of the painting better,” Lamei says.

Lamei says her work is also a way to depict issues and events happening around the world through her own “personal and emotional point of view.”

“I want the audience to connect and feel their inner emotions through my paintings.

“I want them to see and feel pain, the full depth of emotion, and a shared human and global experience in these paintings.”

Courtesy: thenationalnews