12 March – 30 May 2018
Vernissage Monday 12 March, 6:00 – 8:00 pm


Meem Gallery will be presenting Saqqakhaneh, a rare collection of works by Modern Iranian masters, Massoud Arabshahi, Faramarz Pilaram, Sohrab Sepehri, Sadegh, Tabrizi, Parviz Tanavoli and Hossein Zenderoudi. Previously unseen by the public, this collection of 30 works were created between 1959 -1964.

Credited with the establishment of a modernist approach to a national artistic identity, the ‘neo-traditional’ Saqqakhaneh movement was formed in the early 1960s. The style that initially applied to painting and sculpture and repurposed visual elements from votive Shiite art quickly came to be more generally identified with artists whose work was rooted in traditionally Iranian, decorative pre-Islamic and Islamic elements, and folk art. From the formal, stylised motifs present in Islamic and pre-Islamic courtly art to vernacular handicrafts, many forms were explored and reinterpreted, including calligraphy, miniature painting, textiles, and architectural elements.

Affiliated in some capacity with the Tehran College of Decorative Arts (later known as the Faculty of Decorative Arts), the artists created a modern idiom by realising the affinity between aspects of these indigenous forms and modern Western art movements, most notably twentieth-century abstract art. What resulted was a diverse variety of modern, innovative artwork embodying a uniquely Iranian identity and character that set a standard for future generations of Iranian artists.

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