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Turquoise Memories

Most of us keep some kind of a collection of mementos from the past such as diaries, letters or old photographs, which perhaps we only show to close friends or family members. There are also past memories and traces of our cultural background and history which are indelibly etched in our minds.


The Iranian artist living in London, Kourosh Salehi, has combined all these elements in an exhibition of collages, paintings and video-art which was shown here recently. Although he left Iran in his teenage years, he has not cut off his emotional links with the country of his birth. The strength of these ties is an aspect that colours all his works. They all refer to the past, depicting his childhood memories and impressions, as well as his feelings of nostalgia and loneliness during the subsequent years of living away from his family and home.


His collages are a combination of photographs from his family albums and private letters received from home, imaginatively blended with paintings. He describes his purpose as sharing his intimate life with the visitor, as well as an exploration of the past in order to find an explanation for the present. Women, mostly wearing chadors, are very prominent. Yet he does not consider the chador just as a religious emblem but as a powerful visual symbol of restrictions on personal development and individuality. There are also references to history in the pictures of Qajar women, the Court, and traditional wrestlers of the period.


The three video-arts shown in the exhibition are all produced in Iran and have similar themes running through them: memories, traditions, harsh realities, and melancholy. In this multimedia report, we visit this moving and colourful exhibition together with its creator.    



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