Iranian artist Afarin Sajedi crafts stirring portraits of women that explore their role in society and pull in iconography and notes from global cultures. In an upcoming show at Dorothy Circus Gallery, the first solo effort in the U.K. for the artist, she offers recent paintings. The show kicks off March 8 and runs through April 6.
Afarin Sajedi’s portraits of women are rarely pretty in the conventional sense or pleasant to look at. One might even call them deformed or strange, appearing almost alien-esque with their large heads and round eyes. Previously featured on our blog, the Iranian artist once described her work as “a little bit science fiction, a little bit realism”, mainly working from her imagination to create her emotive characters.
These colorful, sometimes discomforting portraits by Tehran-based artist Afarin Sajedi present a unique image of strength. They are the many faces and mixed emotions of modern Iranian women, particularly the pain and joy felt upon leaving the safe walls of home. She is heavily inspired by Heinrich Boll’s Clown, seen in her use of makeup, while Gustav Klimt’s color palette strongly influences her use of agressive colors like red. This is also evident in her subject’s costumes worn similarly to traditional hijab headwear. Some replace their hijab with helmets and plastic bags, while others express themselves by piercing their skin with utensils. No matter how they are outfitted, Sajedi’s women hold onto their bold spirit underneath.