biography:mohamad hossein maher



Mohammad-Hossein Maher (b. 1957, Abadan, Iran) graduated from the Tehran College of Decorative Arts and has been painting for the past 25 years. As a complex of mores, creeds, arts, and life-styles that shape the historical experience of a people, culture in all its manifestations continues to possess him.

He started his career by painting the people of the southern regions of Iran and continued by depicting the general social mood of the time and picturing people’s social detachment and unresponsiveness. Subsequently he began his studies on the characteristics and potentials of Persian Painting (miniature). With each passing phase his inquisitiveness about the society that he lives in has remained the driving force of his works. Over the years, whether as a painter or an art teacher, Maher has offered the fruits of his cultural scrutiny to viewers and the younger generation of Iranian painters. 

The current exhibit is a retrospective of Mohammad-Hossein Maher's work in the past decade that covers four distinct periods. His main concern in respective series -- Masks, Myth, Shock and Monuments -- is memory and the role that historical experience plays in the construction of culture. In Masks, for example, he is looking from the outside at how our constructed identity has changed over time. In Myths he reminds us of the niceties of a lost imagination. The Shock series underlines the violence and cruelty of this loss. And, Monuments is an attempt to recover an identity borne by historical heritage. In each of these four series, Maher is looking at the history and culture of his land, and he levels his criticism through a unique artistic language. Monuments raised to commemorate an individual or event in the past become a powerful pretext for the artist to bring to the visual realm the question of an arrested collective memory. By recasting ancient stories and myths from the past, moreover, he creatively addresses a narrative culture with the attempt to alleviate social amnesia. The current exhibit is a compendium of a decade of Hossein Maher's penetrating critique of the culture and history of his land.

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