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"At first glance, you see the beautiful pattern and think you have understood it. And then you get closer and realise it is completely different. The viewer is thrown back on himself and is forced to re-evaluate his perception."
-Parastou Forouhar

"Kharavan Butterfly" (2010) is a stunning and sophisticated digital drawing on paper by one of the most important Middle Eastern female artists working today, Persian mixed-media artist Parastou Forouhar (Iran, b. 1962). Her work is critically acclaimed for its sublime yet subversive beauty that tends to obsessively repeat decorative Oriental elements that mask a sense of dread that constantly resurfaces. The camouflaging, psychedelic nature of the pattern of the butterfly here hides a commentary based on and human rights violations and torture–familiar scenes during the recent uprisings in the Region, with outlines of anonymous hand prints filling the remaining space in a repetitive, ornate manner. Parastou uses ornament as a metaphor for anti-individualistic tendencies, with her primary focus on the ornament and gender in the political context of Iran.

"Kharavan Butterfly" is a powerful image that celebrates the artist's interest in making her audience consider the interplay between what is intrinsically one’s own and what is the foreign "other", to reconsider tradition and modernity, as well as categories such as male and female, collective and individual. Since 2008, the Persian artist uses her digital drawings to address her distrust of ornament and the ritual of decoration as a system to create a false sense of harmony and placidity and sees in it instead a metaphor for anti-individualistic tendencies.

Parastou Forouhar was 1962 born in Tehran, Iran. Since 1991 the artist has lived and worked in Germany. She received a BA in Art from University of Tehran in 1990 and her MFA from the College of Art Offenbach, Germany in 1994. Her work has been in prestigious Museum exhibitions for over a decade, including participation in the 2nd Berlin Biennale, Berlin; Frankfurter Kreuz, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; "Scene Change XIX", Museum of Modern Art, Frankfurt; "Migration",Women's’ Museum, Bonn, Germany. In 2011 alone, the artist is featured in Museum and Gallery exhibitions including The Ornamental Gesture, Kuenstlerhaus, Dortmond, Germany,"12 contemporary Iranian Artists", Beirut Exhibition Center, Lebanon; Ornamental Structures, amongst many others.

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  • The Artist. Present Collection, US
  • Pickup Location: New York, USA
  • Shipping Dimensions: 39.4 x 39.4 in. (100.08 x 100.08 cm.)

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