پارسی | English

 


Maestro Hojjat Shakiba is among the eminent figures in painting, photography and graphic art in Iran. With unparallel skill in the principles of painting, he has initiated a novel style in the history of this art and immortalized his name.
Maestro Shakiba was born in 1949 in the city of Gurgan. He inherited his artistic talent from his father Mirza Mahmud who was a photographer, a painter and a calligrapher.
Shakiba’s patience became manifest when he started carefully developing and coloring the photos in his father’s studio.  During childhood, he showed such great interest in painting that in young days he sought to be more involved in the world of art. Under the encouragement of his family and friends, he attended the Boys’ Art School in Tehran, learned enormously from such masters as Gholam Hussein Nami, Mohsen Vaziri Moghaddam and Moghimi, the then great miniaturist and immediately entered the Faculty of Fine Arts of Tehran University.
After graduation, he held his first solo exhibition in Seyhun Gallery. Then he went to Switzerland and participated in the international exhibition of Basil. The then media introduced him as an able photorealist. Art pundits believed that the works of the young artists were not at all inferior to those of the great hyperrealists in the world. Published by Gooya House of Art, the book ‘The Role of Photos in Iranian Art’ deals with this period in his artistic career. After this period of photo painting, his painting entered a new artistic phase. These changes which include technique and fragmentation are surely related to his personal life and the historical developments in Iran. The revolution and the subsequent war and its aftermaths left a different image in his mind. He sometimes believes that everything is doomed to fail except man’s perfection.
The purpose is to leave an image
For there is no continuation in existence
The idea of man’s melting in the works like a weightless spirit is clearly discernible in his works. Grey and brown are still the dominant colors in his works. The achievement of his works is the presence of the Qajar women who play music in a leaning or standing position and give their sorrow a different hue. With utmost skill and insurmountable creativity, Shakiba depicts them in a way no one has done before through his colors and singular perspective. Parts of these works have been published in his album ‘Three colors of Love’ and parts of them have been made available to the public in the form of postcards and posters
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Shakiba’s works can be categories into three different phases: first, photojournalism; second, the impact of the artist’s mind and imagination on the Qajar photos and the third phase pertains to the pre-Islamic period. He studied the images and inscriptions of Persepolis and bas reliefs, golden vessels, and study of women’s deeds and situation of the then period which is to be considered a fresh topic for presenting Shakiba’s works.
When I asked Maestro Shakiba how he started his work, how he thinks, where he is heading. He answers: how can one ignore the wisdom of Ferdowsi, the love of Hafiz, the sagacity of Sa’di, and the perfect man of Mawlana Rumi who constitute the core of the culture in this land?
The maestro added: I saw a flood carry me away to the land of the blue lotuses, as afar as the fog, as far as the whiteness of white and as far as love.  When I craned my neck out of water, I found myself amid a marsh filled with lotus flowers and colorful lilies. It was as if the life-giving wisdom did command me to take up the art of the artist and Fravahar incarnated in me to think well, behold the beauties and discard all ugliness and drive out Ahriman (devil). My fingers touched the hand that assisted me. My first tired glance was fixed on a lady in red who was stooping to offer me help. I looked at her over the surface of water and beheld her figure rising to the blue azure sky.
At first glance I failed to see her countenance. But when I could stand on the bejeweled land, I could compose myself. Then I realized that she was my mother land who was wearing a crown on her head like the sun, a crimson garment and a white satin. The sound of the kind heart of Iran mingled with the raindrops dripping on flowers. It was like music ringing in my ears the song of ‘O Iran, O Bejeweled Land’.
The pearls and the shining teardrops on her brow and crown looked like drops whose single particles contained eternity to give freshness to the world. In her silk shawl there was a bunch of lotus flowers she was holding close to her body with her left hand. When she was bending to help me, a lotus fell off her skirt to the ground. I picked the flower to give it back to her. She said: these flowers symbolize purity, goodness and eternity of the Iranians who found meaning in the birth of Zoroaster who was born out of that purity. No we entrust them to the holy river which runs into life and that which gives them eternal life. My glance mingled with those flowers flowing in water and stretched to the far distance.
Will children of good thoughts, of good deeds and good words be born out of the heart of those flowers?  Where will they be heading? Maybe they will go to where I came from.
The goddesses imparted the message of victory with their gentle breeze rising out of the marshes through the hundred columns in Apadana palace and traversing the entire Iranian plateau. They bore the glad tidings of the victory of the Iranians. They imparted the victory news of Cyrus over Babylon, the victory of Xerxes who tamed the wild sea with his whip and paved the way for his army to pass and acquired victory over the Greeks. They also imparted the news of Shapur’s victory that raised the torch of purity and light in the world. Now I see Shapur’s wife who with a kind and pure glance and a tall figure spread a bunch of flowers of Iranian love at his feet
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Celebrations are in progress. Water, fire, and earth rejoice with the message of the goddesses and dance at nightfall over the towering heights. They carry the wondrous brightness of fire everywhere and the goddess Anahita has spread the message of the lotus flowers. Iran is protected by Ahura Mazda against enemies, famine, and lies. Now it is filled with love and the freedom which was brought to the land by the arch of Arash the Archer and the Elborz is the witness to all this glory and grandeur. Now every year Nowruz gives life to thousands of peonies and tulips and spreads them on its cloth for the Kavehs to cross. And the flag of Kavian is hoisted over the Damavand Mountain.
Shakiba goes beyond the present and looks at the past and studies everything through pictorial rocks of Persepolis and Naqsh-e Rustam in order to find love and paint the faces of lovers.
He believes that a blue lotus flower is a symbol of wisdom and that a pure thought is to pass through clear waters. This is the way he paints his first unforgettable work called ‘Message of Love’ which depicts a king and a queen of Achaemenid period holding each other’s hand and imparting the message of freedom and equality and love.
Shakiba is the creator of part of the pictorial history of Iran. He paints a moment when the faces of women are covered with dust and their real identity is turned into a missing link for the modern artist’ incessant quest for showing the true face of the freedom-fighting Iranian women and keep alive the memory of such women as Artemis, Kasandan, Gorafarid, Azar Anahid, Parin, Farrokhru, Zarbanu, Aryatis, Gordiyeh, Helaleh, Purandokht, Shirin, Banu Goshnasp, Yavtab, Artakhdokht, Azarmidokht and Irandokht and say that their blood still surges in the veins of modern Iranian women and consolidate this belief.
Hushang Ansari


1. Hakim Abulqasim Ferdowsi, Poet, philosopher and historian, oil color, 70X100cm on canvass
2. Message of Love, 120X180cm. oil color on canvas
3. Part of ‘Message of Love’. Cyrus and Kasandan
4. King Darius and Queen Atossa. Oil color on compact canvas. 60 cm thick
5. Azar Anahid. Queen of the Queens. Oil color on compact canvas. 60cm thick
6. Fruit and flower. 250X100cm. oil color on canvas
7. Kasandan and lady-in-waiting. 10030cm. oil color on canvas
8. Part of Kasandan and lady-in-waiting
9. Victory of Shapur – 120180cm. oil color on canvas
10. Part of the tableau of Shapur’s victory
11. Kasandan and Nowruz gifts – 120180cm oil color on canvas
12. The flower and the sword – 5065cm. oil color on canvas
13. Tahmineh – 100X130cm . Oil color on canvas
14. Amazon. 100X130cm. oil color on canvas
15. Ariats – 5080cm. oil color on compact canvas
16. Helaleh (Homay-e Chehr)
17. Part of the tableau of Helaleh
18. Fountain of life. 12070cm. oil color on canvas
19. Artemis goes to war. 130100cm. oil color on canvas
20. Supplication. Yutab
21. Anahita, the goddess of water 5065cm. oil color on canvas
22. The flowers of Persepolis. 140X100cm. oil color on water
23. The sagacious lady. 100135cm. oil color on canvas
24. Blue dream. 100X80cm. oil color on compact canvas
25. Gordafarid. 100X70cm. water color on cardboard
26. Silk and the lotus flower. 100X130m. water color on canvas
27. Azarmidokht. 50X80cm. oil color on compact canvas
28. Zarbanu, the Amazon in history. 60X90cm. oil color on canvas
29. Farrokhru. 100X70cm. water color on cardboard
30. Queen in the passage of history. 100X80cm. oil color on compact canvas
31. Part of the tableau ‘A queen in the passage of history’
32. Turquoise parlik 130X100cm. oil color on canvas
33. Parin and the Golden Bowl A. 54X48cm. water color on cardboard and B54X48cm. water color on cardboard
34. Royal qanat (water canal). 100X80cm. oil color on compact canvas.
35. Two sisters (two kings). 100X80cm. oil color on compact canvas.
36. Irandokht and the Sunflowers. 100X80cm. oil color on compact canvas.
37. Shirin, the princess of Armenia. 100X140cm. oil color on canvas.
38. Bejeweled land. 100X80cm. oil color on compact canvas.
39. A flower for all seasons. 60X80cm. oil color on compact canvas.
40. Zarbanu (thought). 100X70cm. oil color on canvas.
41. Passing through history. 140X180cm. oil color on canvas.
42. Part of the tableau ‘passing through history’.
43. Banu Goshnasp. 100X130cm. oil color on canvas.
44. Purandokht. 100X70cm. water color and gold on canvas.
45. The gardens of Ecbatana. 130X100cm. oil color on canvas.
46. Parin in thoughts. 100X70cm. oil color on canvas.
47. The prince of the burnt city. 48X54cm. water color on cardboard
48. Shirin (waiting). 100X70cm. oil color on canvas.
49. Atossa in garden. 100X80cm. oil color on compact canvas.
50. The holy tree. 100X70cm. water color and gold on cardboard
51. Fire on the heights (Helaleh). 100X70cm. water color on cardboard
52. Anahita, the goddess of water. Oil color on compact canvass
53. Farrokhru goes to the palace. 90X70cm. oil color on canvas.
54. Atossa (oath). 130X100cm. oil color on canvas.
55. Intermediary. 140X100cm. oil color on canvas.
56. The guardian angel of Darius. 100X70cm. water color on cardboard
57. Thought. 100X70cm. water color on cardboard
58. The golden bowls. 90X130cm. oil color on canvas.
59. The height of water. 60X90cm. water color on cardboard.
60. The sword of King Xerxes. 100X70cm. water color on cardboard.
61. The image of woman. 100X70cm. water color on cardboard.
62. Motherland. 140X100cm. oil color on canvas.
63. Spear. 130X85cm. oil color on canvas.
64. Part of the tableau ‘Spear’
65. A Gorafarid. 100X70cm. water color on cardboard.
B Gordafarid. 100X100cm. water color on cardboard.
66. The Eastern Breeze. 100X70cm. water color on cardboard.
67. Iranian silk 100X80cm. oil color on compact canvas.
68. The Shadow of Ahura. 100X80cm. oil color on canvas.
69. Part of the tableau ‘The Shadow of Ahura’.
70. The immortal image of man. 100X70cm. water color on cardboard.
71. The curves in silk. 100X80cm. oil color on canvas.
72. The Observer. 100X70cm. water color on cardboard.
73. A Salutation. 100X70cm. water color on cardboard.
B Sleeping lion. 100X70cm. water color on cardboard.
74. Message of Bliss. 100X80cm. oil color on compact canvas.
75. Watchword.100X70cm. Water color on cardboard.
76. The horned goat and fruits. 100X125cm. oil color on canvas.
77. Anticipation. 60X90cm. oil color on canvas.
78. The dance of water and fire and earth. 180X220cm. oil color on canvas.
79. The goddesses of Breeze. 180X220cm. oil color on canvas.
80. The message of love. 100X70cm. water color on cardboard.
81. A Cyrus. 60X90cm. oil color on canvas.
B Kasandan. 60X90cm. oil color on canvas.
82. Flourish of Azar (Anahid). 100X80cm. oil color on compact canvas.
83. The Lion of the night. 100X70cm. water color on cardboard.
Azar Anahid
The queen of the queens of the Persian Empire under Shapur I, the founder of the Sassanid dynasty. The name of this great queen and her achievements have been repeatedly mentioned and praised in the inscriptions of Kaba Zartosht in Fars. (The Sassanids. P.252)
Parin
An Iranian woman scholar. She was the daughter of Kaykobad who in 924 (Old Iranian calendar) collected thousands of leaves from the copies of the Avesta of Pahlavi for future posterity in different lands and rewrote them and had her named immortalized in the history of Iran. She has also compiled a number of other books which might have been burned in the conflagrations wrought by the Arabs. (The Sages of Persia. P 11)
Zarbanu
Courageous Persian warlord. The daughter of Rustam and the sister of and Banu Goshnasp. She was a skilled horse rider and showed great courage in different battles. History mentions her as the liberator of Zal, Azar Barzin Takhvar from prison. (Persian Women. P. 194)
Farrokhru
She has been mentioned as the first Iranian minister in history of Persia. She rose from the low position to a minister.
Kasandan
After Cyrus the great, she was the first powerful personality in Iran. Kasandan was the queen of 28 countries and ruled alongside her spouse. Greek historians and Xenophon have praised her greatly.
Gorafarid
A courageous woman heroine in Persia. History mentions her as a woman who dressed as a man and wrestled with Sohrab. Great Ferdowsi has mentioned her as a courageous woman in the land of the pure ones.
Aryatis
One of the great warlords of Achaemenid period. Greek historians have briefly mentioned him.
Gordiyeh
Courageous Persian woman. She was the sister of Bahram Chubineh. Ferdowsi has mentioned her as the wife of Khosrow Parviz who was with the king in the time of war and showed great courage. (The Shahnameh)
Helaleh
The Persian woman king who according to Balad religious book (Yashthas 391+274) rose to the throne during the kianian period. She is mentioned as the seventh Kiani king whose name was also mentioned as Homa Chehr Azad and Homay and Hamun. She was the mother of Darab and rose to the throne after Human Sepandatan. She was the king of Iran for thirty years. There is no report of misconduct, wrong policies or tyranny about her.
Purandokht
She was the king of Iran during the Sassanid period. She was a woman who ruled over ten Asian countries. After Ardeshir Shiruyeh she rose to the throne as the twenty fifth Sassanid king.
Shirin
Shirin was a prince of Armenia, one of the then cities of Iran. The king or prince of Armenia ruled under the auspices of the king of Iran. Khosrow Parviz and Shirin made an epic which remained forever. Shirin had four children by Khosrow called Nastur, Shahriar, Furud and Mardanshah who all died in prison. She laid her head on the pillow of the dead body of Khosrow, drank poison and immortalized her love.
Banu Goshnasp
The daughter of Rustam and the sister of courageous Zarbanu. Her name has been mentioned repeatedly in Borzunameh and Bahman-nameh. One of the most famous stories about her is the threefold battle of Faramarz, Rustam and Banu Goshnasp. She has also written a long poem which is being housed at the Paris National Library and the British Museum Library.
Yutab
The Persian woman warrior who was the sister of Ario Barzan, the famous warlord in the army of Darius III. During the battle with Alexander she commanded part of the army. In the Bakhtiari Mountains, she blocked the way to Alexander but a treacherous Iranian opened the way to him and he attacked Iran from another path. She has also been mentioned as the king of Atropatan (Azerbaijan) circa 20 years BC. Ario Barzan and Yutab were killed in the way of defending their country and immortalized their names.
Artemiz (Artemis)
She is the first and the only sea commander. She was assigned as the sea commander of the Xerxes army and led the royal army in the Iranian-Greek war. Greek historians have praised her for her beauty and decency.
Atossa
She was the queen of over 28 Asian countries under Darius the Great. Herodotus, the Greek historian, has mentioned her as the spouse of Darius and as his spiritual supporter in his military expeditions. Several expeditions have been carried out on the order of Atossa.
Artadokht
She was the treasury finance ministry of the Persian Empire under Ardavan four of the Arsacid dynasty. According to the book ‘The Arsacids’ by Diakonov, the Russian Orientalist, she organized the tax system, never made a mistake and helped flourish the Parthian economy.
Azarmidokht
She was a king of Persia in 631. She was the daughter of Khosrow Parviz who ruled over a few Asian countries after Goshtab Bandeh. Azarmidokht was the thirty-second Sassanid king. The name symbolizes immortality.


The Persian poet Ferdowsi praises this lady in his Shahnameh:
Sohrab did not know she was a woman
Her hair was not visible
Astounded he said such a lady
How she turned out to be in the army
There are women like her in Iran
Such valorous ladies of Iran
In the end we wish to offer the beautiful poem of Parvin Etesami, the great Iranian poetess.
I am Parvin, the lady of Iran
Neither Purandokht, Azarmidokht, Atossa, nor Pantea but Artemis
A woman warrior in the army of Persia against the Greeks
If you see me as a spouse or a woman
I am a faithful and good one
Nor a maid. Do not think so. For blood surges in my veins
How could history find women without women?
Arash with his archer?
Kaveh the blacksmith with his anvil and club?
How could history have Ferdowsi?
The guardian of the Persian language?
Master Ferdowsi?
If you see me as a mother
I have a paradise lying beneath my feet
Look. The world is flowing under my feet
Of my love the world is shining bright
With my hands the world is spinning
My footprints you see on the red, white and green face of the earth
Go! Oh man! Do not mention my name so easily
I am the daughter of the Persian land.
Respect for women in ancient Iran
During the Achaemenid kings, there were men who were placed above men in rank. A striking example is carved in the inscriptions in Persepolis such as the seafaring adventure of Artemis. According to Gilstein, Dr David Stronach, Professor Richard Frye and Professor Ali Reza Shapur Shahbazi (Chicago Institute of Orientalism and Museum of Ancient Iran), Darius the Great used women as effective force in constructing the Persepolis palaces. There are inscriptions where women are depicted to rival 100 men or women who earned thrice the wages of men by virtue of their skill or pregnant women who used their wages for rest.