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Take a Studio Tour with Mirror Artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian

Freunde von Freunden peeks inside the Tehran studio of the 91-year-old master artist.

by Lucy Byrnes
Aug 19 2015, 2:50pm

Photos by James Whineray for Freunde von Freunden.

Freunde von Freunden is an independent and international publication documenting inspiring people from diverse creative and cultural backgrounds. Through online interviews, videos, mixtapes, and studio visits, from Istanbul to Seoul, FvF documents the lives of global creatives. In their latest 'Workplaces' segment, FVF’s Lucy Byrnes interviews 91-year-old artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian upon her return home in Iran from her first US museum exhibition at the Guggenheim in New York.

The mirror works of Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian first took shape in the 1960s and 70s when she returned to her native Iran after spending over 26 exiled years in New York after the Iranian Revolution. Her journey as an artist began long before the Shah’s overthrow; Monir’s artistic trajectory spans from her early days of study at the Fine Arts College of Tehran, to further studies and freelance graphic design work in New York as well as extensive traveling to Iran’s more remote regions. It was during this period that traditional Persian craftsmanship, Islamic pattern design, and western principles merged in the form of Monir’s distinctive art practice.

After her return to Iran in 2004 and the establishment of her studio and design workshop, Monir resumed work with many of the craftsmen with whom she had initially collaborated in the 1970s. “When I came back from America, I lived in many different cities in Iran, and traveled all around Iran to find my country. I was very young when I left…when I returned to Iran I wanted to see what my country was really like. What was this 3,000 year old culture? I went to many different cities as well as to the countryside to see what the history of our architecture and fine art was like. I traveled.”When asked what informs and inspires her, Monir replies: “Everything. Traveling, being born here in Iran, seeing mirror works in Shiraz, the mosques, the palaces –everything.”

Monir delves headlong into Persian mysticism while simultaneously invoking the current social and political landscape of Islam. Her mirror works reflect this collision. 

Read Lucy Byrnes' entire article for Freunde von Freunden here

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