In recognition of the United Nations Day for Peace on Sept 21st, 2017, an International invitational poster exhibition is simultaneously happening in Tehran, Iran and Stillwater, Oklahoma. The dually hosted exhibit is “Devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and amongst all nations and peoples.”
‘Posters For Peace‘ features posters from international artists who advocate peace and oppose the escalation of violent conflicts. “We believe that peace is an intrinsic human desire,” said OSU assistant professor of graphic design Pouya Jahanshahi. “No matter what happens around politics, the economy, society, I think all humans want to see peace and they believe sitting in harmony with each other is a core human desire.”
Jahanshahi, 47, was born in Iran, but left his homeland for London and then California as a teenager during the eight year Iran-Iraq War. He is working with Zahra Pashaei, a noted Iranian graphic designer, to bring the exhibit to audiences. The exhibit features posters from 20 Iranian designers and 20 international designers, including many in the US.
The exhibit can be viewed until Sept. 28th (2017) at the Oklahoma State University Department of Art’s Gardiner Gallery on campus. The exhibit is simultaneously displayed in the Qasr Gallery in Tehran, a former prison built in 1929 that was recommissioned as an art gallery in 2012.
“It’s a massive jail structure. I think it had a couple hundred jail cells. Some of the famous Iranian authors and poets were jailed in that facility,” Jahanshahi said in an interview with NonDoc. “That facility has become a cultural center now. These same posters that will be in our gallery will be displayed in the jail cells and the jail gallery in Iran.”
“Iran and America have always had this weird love-hate relationship,” Jahanshahi said. “But I can tell you from the perspective of Iranian people – I’m not talking about politics or economics or anything – Iranian people have always had an admiration and love of American things and America itself and Americans.”
“It’s partly because of the notion of how America became what it is. People left places that didn’t want them or were putting them under torture, so they created a new place, and this new place became better than anywhere else.”