In September, The Salsali Private Museum in Dubai will host an exhibition of works by Iranian artist Pantea Rahmani. The Seismic Sanctuary is a collection of her latest works that creates a detailed map of Tehran.
The show’s title refers to a place of refuge that could at any moment cease to exist. Ramin Salsali the founder and owner of the museum says: ‘The sanctuary of Tehran sits on a seismic fault line and the façade of calm can be interrupted at any moment.’
Rahmani, who is known for her detailed portraiture style of painting, has moved from one form of self-portraiture to another with this series. She feels that Tehran is an ‘inseparable part of her identity’, yet has exposed the entire city in such detail to the viewer.
As a gallery that likes to introduce artists who may not have as much of a commercial attraction as others, Salsali, says he was stunned by her talent. ‘I was paralyzed for minutes and could not believe the precision in the way in which she painted a city full of contradictions and social disorder in such harmony,’ Salsali explains.
The mapping of the city is spread out onto five-metre long canvases, making it impossible to ignore the defined level that the pieces have been created with. ‘It takes hours and maybe two or three visits to discover the details and depth of these two works,’ Salsali adds.
While the beauty of the city is shown through the precision used by Rahmani, she has created a twist to the pieces, by adding black smoke that slithers through the streets of the city. Although this black smoke takes over Tehran, Rahmani has played with the piece and has added bright streetlights, illuminating the city through the smoke.
Not only has she remarkably brought Tehran’s beauty to life through the accuracy of her drawing, but also the awareness of what she is trying to portray through her new series by creating chaos in the middle of the city.
*The Seismic Sanctuary will run from the 10th September to the 1st November