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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Modern Masters: Iraqi works from the modernist era


Iraqi works from the modernist era

10 January - 28 February 2018

This January Meem Gallery celebrates the start of 2018 with a group exhibition of modernist Iraqi paintings. Including rare works by Faeq Hassan, Jewad Selim, Dia Azzawi, Ismail Fattah, Khadem Hayder and Shakir Hassan Al Said, the exhibition highlights these early masters and second generation pioneer artists, whose careers continue to influence artists in Iraq and throughout the diaspora.

Highlights include an exceptional example of Jewad Selim’s work, a figurative painting from 1957 in light pastel tones, featuring a female figure in a domestic setting. This rare work has not been seen publicly in many years, and is accompanied by an undated work on paper by the same artist. (Press please request image post 10 January as it is not currently included in the dropbox link)

Another highlight is the early work on board by Ismail Fattah from 1961 – produced while he was still studying at the Academia di Bella Arti in Rome. Titled “To Lisa from Ismael” on the reverse in the artists hand, the work features a couple embracing and shows a rare example of his early style*.

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