09-22-2009 21:47
Iranian Artist¡¯s Exhibition Features Local Foreign Faces

Pictured are two of the works being put on display at Roofers, Itaewon, from Sunday by Iranian artist Roxana Manouchehri. Her show, ¡°Mystic Portrayal: Local Portraits With a Persian Touch,¡± features 15 portraits of members of the foreign community.

By Cortney Strube
Contributing Writer

A unique collection of local portraits by Iranian artist Roxana Manouchehri will be on display this Sunday at her solo art show "Mystic Portrayal: Local Portraits With a Persian Touch."

The line-up will feature 15 portraits of active members of the foreign community, and is the first of its kind for Manouchehri and show venue Roofers in Itaewon.

"It's the first time I'm going to show my artwork outside of a gallery," said Manouchehri, a resident artist from Tehran, Iran, who said she wanted to engage the foreign community in her show. "I chose to draw 15 very special people, and I'm excited to see what will happen in a non-gallery space."

Manouchehri said she is looking forward to showcasing her works at Roofers, a community-based restaurant, performance and art space.

"My main paintings are not commercial, and they're large so it's very difficult to show them unless they're in a serious gallery," she said. "This time I decided to do something to get the public involved in my show. (Roofers) is big enough to show my drawings, as they are quite small compared to my paintings."

Communication between cultures is one of the show's themes, and Manouchehri said she hopes those in attendance will ask questions and share ideas.

"I would like to talk to many different people," she said. "Usually, I meet artists, but I hope many people will come to the show who aren't artists. I'd like to see and hear their thoughts and ideas."

In each of her works, Manouchehri, a member of Seoul Art Collective, aimed to show the contrast between modern life and the past ¡ª a touch she said is evident with the use of Persian miniature human figures in her portraits.

After finishing the drawings with each model, she added a symbol from the ancient miniatures, which are generally seen in historical Middle Eastern and Asian paintings, to jointly convey her feelings and that of each model.

"In all my paintings, whatever I do, I bring something Persian because I am from Iran. I grew up there, I studied there and I feel that I am Iranian," she said. "I usually like to mix Western style and Eastern style by using Persian miniatures. I added those tiny figures beside the portraits, and I also used boxes to write Farsi, our Iranian language."

Summer Walker, curator for the show, said Manouchehri's heritage and technique add special elements to her work.

"She always has this Iranian feel to her work, so she's drawn the portraits. But in the background she's added Iranian elements and that's what truly make the actual portraits," said Walker. "None of the artists have anything to do with Iran, but there's always an Iranian touch."

Walker said many aspects of Manouchehri's work are unique, including her signature, which is also written on the portraits in Farsi.

"It's a cool element because Farsi is such a beautiful language," she said.

Walker said she encouraged expats and Korean natives alike to attend the show because, unlike many exhibitions, the faces on the drawings will likely be those of people seen around town.

"She's taken members of the foreign community, even Korean natives who are involved in the foreign community, and she drew pictures of them. They're people who are known in the community, and who make a difference in the community, so when you walk through you'll recognize some of the people, or at least their names."

The collaboration with Roofers, Walker said, will allow the public to view Manouchehri's artistry at a free show in a top-notch locale.

The show will be held at 6 p.m.. To learn more about the exhibit, visit the Facebook page "Mystic Portrayal," or call Summer Walker on 010-8408-2006.

For more information on the artist, visit roxanamanouchehri.com.