Farewell Hannibal Alkhas


Farewell Hannibal Alkhas
by Nazy Kaviani

I went to a memorial service for Iranian (Assyrian) artist, Hannibal Alkhas last evening. I listened to his son, Buna, and his daughter talk about their father, among a dozen other students, friends, and admirers of Hannibal Alkhas. Buna's speech particularly moved me. He spoke about his father in the same style as he does his writing and drawing--simply, honestly, and poetically. I really wanted to spend more time with Buna and his handsome son, but time was short as he will be returning home tomorrow.

Since I heard of the great painter's passing, I have had a certain sadness, a sense of personal loss, which has been hard to fathom and convey. I mean I never met him, even though several months ago I had asked Bella how to go about finding him and talking to him. I am so sad I didn't do it. My sense of loss may also have something to do with the painting above. This is a small painting he did in Berkeley in 2001. This sketch and another have been two of my most prized possessions for the past several years. This one has been particularly dear to me, because I believe it to portray me, "The Asymmetrical Woman." He has written at the bottom of the sketch, "Who said only symmetry is beautiful?"

After last night, I feel closer to the artist who drew me without having ever met me, The Asymmetrical Woman! People just couldn't stop talking about how kind and loving and fun he was. My sense of loss at Mr. Alkhas' passing grew last night. But I felt privileged to have listened to his son and daughter talk so lovingly about him. Those of you who have read Buna Nameh have already seen Buna's love for his father, while the great artist was still alive. Those of you who have not read Buna Nameh must absolutely read it. It is probably one of the most original and fantastic things that was ever published on Iranian.com. In a part of his poignant eulogy for his father, Buna read this poem (page 189).

Rest in peace Master Alkhas.


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Beautifully written and

by vildemose on

Beautifully written and heart-felt tribute to a national treasure.

 Who said being symmetrical is a virtue. It rather denotes lack of courage.


the assymmetrical assyrian

by buna on

thank you nazy for your beautiful words about hannibal.

i remember as a child i pointed out to him that the eyes on a portrait he was working on were one up and one down. and he said that when we look at someone, our eyes compensate for the imperfections, that he painted them the way they really were.

and thank you for your help with my posts on iranian.com. hopefully, i will need more of it in the future.



oh Nazy joon

by Souri on

I'm very impatient to see those pictures. In fact there are lots of pictures that I haven't seen yet.

But please let me choose mines before posting them here :)

Nazy Kaviani

Hi Souri!

by Nazy Kaviani on

How are you?!! O.K. what I mean by asymmetrical, is precisely what you said. In fact I think my diasporic state adds to the asymmetry--the collection of contradictions that is my makeup at this time and in this part of the world. Looking at that painting, I always thought that Hannibal Alkhas had seen that asymmetry in (the generic) me.

Souri, I am putting together our photo essay from the concert! Stay tuned!


Beautiful !

by Souri on

Nazy jon , thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. Yes, I'd read Buna nameh and truly enjoyed it at that time (and even now again) but I didn't know Mr. Alkhas works at that time. Rouhash shaad va yaadash gerami.

About the picture, although I had seen it before , but I've never recognized it's similarity with you. I don't understand what you are talking about?

Having many contradictory or paradoxical thoughts/behaviors is absolutely natural for a 21th century woman. Especially an intelligent and sensitive Persian lady like yourself.

So maybe this is what you are calling "Asymmetrical Woman"?

Then maybe you are Asymmetrical, but as you said you are truly beautiful, inside and out.