Ink on Paper
Paris Market Series
Nazanin is an Iranian-American artist and physician. She lived in Iran during the Iran/Iraq war, the deposing of the Shah, and the Islamic revolution. These events deeply influenced her evolution as an artist. While living in Iran, Nazanin studied Persian calligraphy, miniature painting, and music. As an adult, she has continued her study of Iranian music with masters of Persian traditional music, including Hossein Omoumi, and developed a deep appreciation for the intricate dastgah system. Her love of biology and desire to understand the human body led her to study medicine, and she is now a practicing cardiologist in Philadelphia.
Nazanin creates work at the intersections of seemingly disparate disciplines: medicine, art, and music. Her work is preoccupiedwith her dual identities as an Iranian and American, artist and physician.
My work straddles borders: Iran and the US, music and visual art, medicine and art.
My drawings are made using traditional Iranian bamboo pens or ghalams. I borrow techniques from Iranian calligraphy to create abstract work. Rather than using these techniques as they were traditionally used, to create religious object, I explore the secular meaning of line in and of itself*** In the aftermath of the Islamic revolutionand its abuses of religious calligraphy, which I witnessed firsthand, I seek the complete dissolution of words and instead prefer to create abstract images. These drawings are also about musical rhythm. **anti-religious object making**
In 2016, I added melodic patterns to my exploration of rhythm, and thus turned to color. I continue an intense study of Persian music, based on learning the radif, which is a collection of musical patterns that takes approximately 10 years to master. The radif (which translates to “collection”), is made of dastgahs, which are a “complex of specific musical atmospheres evoked by using a particular set of intervals, transposable into any key (Omoumi). Each dastgah is made of distinct melodic patterns, called gusheh, which has a characteristic final note (ist) and principle notes around which improvisations revolve. My paintings are visual exploration of Persian music, which has separate “dastgah” or modes that are characterized by specific intervals that are the building blocksof distinct melodic patterns.
In 2017, I took a leave from my cardiology practice to focus solely on art, and moved my family to Paris where I rented a studio and immersed myself in art-making. I spent hours reflecting on my prior years as a cardiologist, and found artistic inspiration and material for making my current serious about the heart. I delved deeper into my “dastgah” series, exploring different mediums to find the best way to respond to Iranian classical music.