School – Imprisoned Alphabet
Tehran – 2021’s Collections
Acrylic, Oil Pastel and Colour Pencils on Acrylic Paper 40cm x 40cm

“Imprisoned Alphabet: Navigating Tehran’s School Years (2021)”


In “Imprisoned Alphabet,” the artist poignantly encapsulates the tumultuous journey through Tehran’s rigid educational system during their formative years. The canvas serves as a visual autobiography, where the medium of acrylic, oil pastel, and color pencils meld seamlessly on the textured acrylic paper, telling a story of struggle, resilience, and self-discovery.


At the heart of the piece stands the artist, a central figure, representing their own odyssey through the educational landscape. The use of Iranian alphabet characters, artfully integrated into the composition, serves as both a nod to cultural identity and a poignant commentary on the challenges faced within the system.


The Confined Space:

The school setting is depicted as confined blue spaces, reminiscent of a prison. These seem to close in, emphasising the stifling nature of the rigid educational environment.

Imposing Structures:

In the background, the depictions embody the formidable educational institutions the artist once navigated. Every wording element carries subtle references to specific schools and their corresponding years, inviting viewers to embark on a journey through the artist’s intimate past.

Alphabetic Maze:

The Iranian alphabet, woven intricately into the composition, mirrors the labyrinthine challenges faced by the artist. The letters themselves are imbued with emotion, reflecting the struggle to conform to a system that offered little flexibility.

A Glimpse of Rebellion:

Amidst the constraining structures, vibrant bursts of colour emerge, hinting at the artist’s inner rebellion against the system. These dynamic strokes and hues represent the artist’s resilience and refusal to be entirely subdued.

Self-Reflection and Identity:

The central figure, depicted with introspective eyes, embodies the artist’s journey of self-discovery amidst the confines of an uncompromising system. The use of limited colour and texture in this self-portrait conveys a depth of emotion, revealing layers of resilience and determination.

A Yearning for Alternatives:

Through the vivid interplay of mediums, the artist expresses a longing for alternative forms of education, ones that would have better suited their unique learning style and individuality.


“Imprisoned Alphabet” stands as a powerful testament to the artist’s ability to transcend adversity through the medium of art. The painting serves as a visual chronicle of a transformative period in the artist’s life, offering viewers a window into the complexities of navigating a rigid educational system. Through this work, the artist invites us to reflect on the universal struggle for self-expression and identity within structured environments.

Written by Shereen

Date of Publication: 13/10/2023