Capturing the Pain of Political Unrest

Shahrokh’s latest collection of artistic inquiries, Tehran, is a psychological tour de force crafted to shed light upon the tempestuous emotional life of a culture prevented from expressing its natural inclinations. A resident of the ancient city when it succumbed to the Iranian revolution of 1970, Shahrokh witnessed first hand how the once lively and animated exchanges of its population were gradually subdued by the constrictive impositions of this fundamentalist regime.

Utilising the abstract medium to embody facets of the psyche that can never be neatly defined, Tehran is Shahrokh’s latest expedition into the rocky terrain of his personal and cultural subconscious. Leaving no stone unturned in the excavation of his memories, this series lays bare the incongruities of thought and behaviour that ripple through a community when they’re prevented from sharing information organically.

Tehran – 2021’s Collections – Tehran 1978 – Acrylic, Oil Pastel and Colour Pencils on Acrylic Paper 40cm x 40cm

Each of these striking 18 multimedia pieces, invigorated with acrylic paint, oil pastels and coloured pencils – defies its physically diminutive scale – standing at just 40cm x 40cm. Bursting from their seams to assail the viewer with a volley of contrasting colours – these abstract studies demonstrate how deeply felt emotions cannot hope to be suppressed. Instead, these voices only become more volatile and urgent when they are hemmed into a strictly regulated communicative arena.

Having come of age in such a chaotic environment, Shahrokh is immensely grateful to have spent much of his adult life in the relatively temperate social climate of Manchester, England. Given that the West is now embroiled in a culture war, however – fought between opposing ideological power blocks battling for control of the narratives that govern our lives – his work could not be more timely.

Tehran – 2021’s Collections – Tehran, The City of Orange Taxis – Acrylic, Oil Pastel and Colour Pencils on Acrylic Paper 40cm x 40cm

Art defines our reality as much as science does – and we require creative vehicles that permit us to journey into the recesses of our minds if we are to successfully navigate the subconscious undercurrents that threaten to destabilise them. Shahrokh’s paintings – intensely personal and yet wide-open to interpretation by viewers – provide us with a compass to navigate these stormy seas.

Written by KJL.

Date of Publication: 11/02/2022

Creative Acknowledgment: Selected by Aesthetica Art Prize