Friday, March 19, 2010

Political Graffiti Installation by Coup Regime

Art review by Julie Jigsawnovich

Pro-Coup Regime graffiti in Iran lacks artistic merit. This should come as no surprise, since artists there tend to be arrested and jailed for criticizing them. Following are two videos from security cameras outside the Tehran home of former Iranian presidential candidate, Mehdi Karroubi, documenting an event on March 15th

Although the red paint adds drama, it's applied without regard to overall composition. Clearly, it was applied by rank amateurs whose only goal was to shock and dismay. This is even more obvious when the installation on Karroubi's home is compared to paintings by New York artist, Richard Hambleton, who first made a name for himself with his street art. and

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Phrases scribbled onto the building include, "Death to Karroubi!" Perhaps this is the regime's reaction to Karroubi's reportage of rapes by prison guards and security forces.

Persian calligraphy can be beautiful, even when applied with spraypaint on a wall, but what we see here is simply bad handwriting without even the excuse of hurrying to avoid arrest--the police were there guarding the vandals! In my town of New York, although graffiti has reached the level of a serious art form, with collectors from around the world, painting graffiti in public areas is a felony crime. So, to me it is quite shocking that the vandalism of Karroubi's home was supported by Iranian police and persons wearing Islamic Republic of Iran uniforms.
The IRI regime frequently disparages Western media for allowing criticism of the regime. But the use of the color yellow for the anti-BBC and anti-Voice of America signs used in this performance seems an odd choice. Yellow signs and banners are usually associated with the People's Mojahedin Organization, a leftist group vehemently opposed to the IRI regime. Was this simply an oversight on the event planner's part, or an attempt at appropriation?
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"TEHRAN (AFP) – The wife of Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi claimed on Monday that a group of 'thugs' paid by 'corrupt' government officials had vandalised the apartment block where the family lives in Tehran. 'About 50 people, including four or five women gathered in front of our building with the support of intelligence and police forces and shouted slogans,' opposition leader Karroubi's website, Sahamnews,quoted his wife Fatemeh Karroubi as saying. 'They vandalised the building. These are thugs who are on a payroll,' she added."

For the sake of contrast, here is a Taham video by Fred Khoshtinat, with high artistic value and excellent use of Persian script and music by the Iranian composer, Mahdyar Aghajani, who fled Iran due to persecution. Although the song itself is not political as far as I know, shooting a rap video inside Iran was. At one point, the video shoot was endangerd by a police raid, and the crew, actors and musicians barely escaped arrest by hiding the camera in a flower pot and running away, according to Aghajani.
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