Friday, June 26, 2009

and Iran, Iran so far awa-a-ay...

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

one of three, in an attempt to be a better citizen of the world.

there's a lot going on in Iran the last few months. weeks ago i could have attempted empathy, only to put myself in the shoes of a people who are well briefed, more open to talk than we think (so long as we follow the rules of Bazaar negotiating seriously), and attempted reasonable [centrifuge caps] compromises, despite much infighting (rumor has it some fight over who gets the credit repairing Iran's relationship with the US, restoring it to more prosperous eras). as of 2 weeks ago though... the election, the protests, the media blackouts and blockage, the blatant depressing treatment of women and of course the government engaged murders (both of which i hope i subtly implied here), it's almost impossible to find the bright side.

with corrupt and iron willed politicians, as well as religious venomous clerics behind (clerics, who are demanding the execution of voting protesters now), i am curious to see what happens next. no country, nor its people, should ever be judged by the ruler. i think American's can certainly relate to that. speaking out and making waves of change is also not exclusive to our American democracy. the people of Iran are speaking, louder than ever; so who's listening, and what's next?


Minder S. said...

First of all, this is phenomenal. I don't know if it's intentional or not but the lighting around Ahmadinejad's eyes recalls the techniques they used in lighting starlets in alot of the classical black and white movies of the 30's and 40's (hooray Narrative Cinema 101!).

It's pretty scary to think about what is happening over there in Iran. I can't even pretend to have even a remote understanding of the culture and class struggles going on, not to mention what I imagine to be strict religious fundamentalism. From what I've read, though, the parallels to the American red state/blue state system are a bit uncanny (as is the pandering to the good, clean, church-going folk).

The imagery coming out of that country is pretty amazing and it looks like they might be on the verge of a revolution (which is a very romantic concept) but part of me wonders whether it's just a case of a vocal minority making a big fuss while it is completely possible that Mahmoud won the election fair and square (not likely, but possible). The influence of Obama on the election is undeniable in the stark, green and white Che-esque posters of Moussavi that people are waving around and also, apparently, Ahmadinejad's appropriation of the "Yes We Can" slogan. Yet, I can't help but be a little disappointed in the fact that the revolution is being "twittered," which just kinda cheapens it a little bit, even though it's a legitimate form of communication.

This is an extremely compelling piece, and probably one of my favorites that you've ever done.

pw! said...

Minder thank you SO much for your thoughtful comments.

to get the shallow stuff out of the way, as i was doing preliminary sketches, he was, in simplified versions, dark sunken eyes, dark beard and hair, and a mask of white between. i noticed it was visually similar, by a hair, of an Iranian woman in a burka. i already have another piece (3 of 3) planned that deals with nuclear concerns, so i didn't want to restate the same thing with Iran. womens' rights in Iran are appalling and every time i try and empathize and listen and learn about Iran, try and HEAR what it is EXACTLY they want, i am sobered by how awful women of the middle east can be considered. i roll my eyes every time someone oversimplifies the 'they hate freedom' argument, but once and a while, cultural differences and history aside, you have to say, "clearly they must."

i didn't want to make this a piece about womens' rights per se (and it would get a Fail if i did here) but when the government shot dead a 26 year old unarmed woman protester, it was another layer i wanted to utilize. so his shadow, her visage, the barely similar shape on his eyes...i basically wanted to have a couple foggy dots that people could connect if they chose. otherwise i wanted it to stand up as how i feel about him: an ambiguous portriat, covered in and surrounded by shadows. i didn't know that about the lighting in old films but it makes me incredibly happy to know that!

the parallels of the last 12 years of American elections is not lost on me. people can cry about Bush stealing the first election all they want, but he won the second one with no problem. he's apparently so stupid but he still made it to a second term, let alone the first one. i wonder about it in Iran as well. if 49% of the people lost, 49% of the people are going to be upset and be vocal about it (sounds familiar). Murder of, denouncement of, and public cries for the execution of, protesters does not help the government or the clerics' case. my Dad says that giving parts of the world a taste of freedom will have extraordinary results. i am not against the almost imperialistic way we have gone about it, but i wonder if perhaps it is a wonderful thing so long as it doesn't get oppressive or religious. it's hard to relate to though because every other country has centuries of history and tradition and all that entails in place, and ours is a baby nation whose history is that of freedom and all that gloriously entails.

regarding the revolution will not be twittered, i have to laugh, but i also have to tip my hat at the resourcefulness. in their defense, it was THEIR ONLY MEANS; something the government forgot to block. i think it's great. it's the only good thing to come from twittering (except maybe Christopher Walken's and the one where the newscasters got separated at a drunken St Patty's Day parade)

thanks again so much for the comments and just looking. hope you will like what is in store for the future

pw! said...

i also meant to say i AM against the imperialistic ways we've gone about things, and also the dishonest justifications. sorry.

Minder S. said...

Haha, thanks for the clarification.

The women's rights theme is right there and it doesn't smack you in the face - I did get that sense of the diminished role of the female in Middle Eastern cultures from this piece without a doubt (the shadow, the flower patterns and, call me crazy, I also noticed a suggestion of the female reproductive system in the patterns at the top left), but there's so much else going on in it to discuss, and it's all very immediate.

One other thing I forgot to mention was the linework on the face and just the illustration and likeness in general and how well it's done. The penstrokes look like scars on his face and serve to mirror the man's seemingly craggly worldviews. This is almost like the anti-Shephard Fairy Obama poster (which, coupled with the "O" logotype used in the campaign, may just have been some of the most effective propaganda I have ever seen in my life).

OK, I gotta stop looking at this thing now before someone walks over and sees me studying an Ahmadinejad portrait. Can't wait to see the rest of these pieces.

Aliyah Gold said...

Really great piece Peter.

Michael Franklin said...

you never seize to amaze me

roger ycaza said...

Un abrazo desde Quito!!!

S.M.Vidaurri said...

you are quite good at likenesses, im surprised you dont do them more often, great piece

Murderous T Stabwell said...

really beautiful piece, and wow, what a pun...

love that pattern in the background

BINO said...

Very nice ch design!