WORLDVIEWS/Illustrated map of the Mediterranean #2

CULTUREIn una storia le parole sono importanti, ma le immagini spesso riescono a comunicare con maggiore intensità perché non richiedono mediazione linguistica. È da questo presupposto che FocusMediterranée è partita. Tracciare una mappatura illustrata del Mediterraneo vuol dire raccontarlo da un punto di vista inedito, attraverso le testimonianze e le opere di artisti che in questo territorio sono nati, sono cresciuti e qui stanno costruendo il proprio futuro, ognuno a suo modo. Ma vuol dire anche mettere a confronto le loro storie con quelle di chi, invece, il Mediterraneo lo osserva da fuori, da lontano, ma utilizza lo stesso linguaggio dell’arte per raccontare. Dopo la storia di Fouad Mezher, illustratore e animatore libanese di origine brasiliana, FocusMediterranée arriva in Iran, a Rasht, una città di un milione di abitanti situata nel nord del Paese a poca distanza dal Mar Caspio e per questo storicamente considerata il ponte di collegamento tra l’Europa e la Russia. È qui che nel 1978 è nato Morteza Zahedi.

Appassionato di disegno fin da piccolo, è cresciuto professionalmente a Tehran, dove si è laureato in Arte e Architettura islamica e dove oggi vive e lavora. Illustratore, pittore e scultore , ha esposto le sue opere in mostre personali e collettive in tutto il mondo e ha ricevuto importanti riconoscimenti in occasione di eventi e concorsi in Iran, Dubai, Giappone, Corea del Sud, Danimarca, Norvegia, Portogallo, Serbia, Italia.

What illustration means to you?
It’s a way of being. When I was a child I felt in love with colors and illustration and I decided to become an illustrator. People tell me that I have a childlike curiosity. I like working with paper, I cut and paste it and each piece has a thousand little nuances of pastel shades and delicate drawings… I am a paper artist!

Which was your first illustration?
I think that was when some of my normal illustrations have been published in a literary magazine in Rasht. It was a great emotion for me.

What kind of technique do you prefer and what colors do you use the most and why?
My works are usually mixed media. I can’t work with sharp colors. My palette is always full of calm
colors because I think poetry and imagination can be made using these kind of colors.

Which colors do you associate to Iran?
Maybe turquoise-blue as it is used a lot in iranian traditional painting (miniature), architecture, decorative arts, jewelry, …

Where do you get your inspiration?
First of all from Iranian illustrators (Morteza Momayez, Farshid Mesghali, Farshid Shafei) but also from artists around the world.

What are the most common topic in the illustrated books of Iran?
Picture books in my Country don’t have a very long story (only 55 years) so we still have many problems with families, publishers as well as with local and international markets. It’s really hard to make a great book in Iran, because we don’t have professional publishers and creative writers. I think that one of the main problem here is the prevailing ignorance about media in general and books in particular. The result is no cultural policy. So we can’t transfer its importance to our audience. Secondly, publishers don’t support it professionally (that is the most important of all) and at last our life is strictly conditioned and oppressed by the political situation in our geographical area. We live in hell, between closed doors. Even if there were creative people in Iran, they wouldn’t have the possibility to show their works to an international audience. This is “the” problem. I think so!

How did the recent years mutations change the way of illustrating stories in Iran?
Absolutely nothing.

How much the current events have affected in Iran the way of representing reality and fiction in the stories in your country?
Unfortunately in Iran we don’t have people we can call “writer”.Usually they are not at all creative, they live on cheap poem and imagination. As I already told you before it is because they don’t know this medium (book ) and most of them are really ideological writers and think about their personal interests rather than audiences needs.

If I ask you to represent the Mediterranean today, what image would you choose in order to make young people understand how this area is now changing and evolving?
Honestly I don’t have any idea.




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