Brush stroke for every human suffering

Iman Maleki’s paintings


Brush stroke for every human suffering
by Ari Siletz

A criticism often leveled at Iman Maleki’s astonishingly realistic paintings is, “why not just use a photograph?” To survey the strengths and weaknesses of one of Iran’s most promising artists, we ask the same question of the following work by American painter, Denis Peterson.

Don’t Shed No Tears” (2006) is, believe it or not, acrylic on canvas! This instance of hyperrealism is a performance art. Viewers are deliberately made to notice the amazing amount of time and painstaking effort that went into portraying this Darfur refugee. Peterson isn't showing off; he is a radical painter, compelling us with his dedication. The astonishing realism is the result of every wrinkle and twist of hair being colored and shadowed in the context of reflected light from every other object in the scene. Whereas the camera does this mindlessly as a matter of optics, the artist has endured whatever it took to make sure human eyes do not respond as mindlessly. We can flip the page on a Newsweek photo, worth a click of the camera, but we can’t as easily turn away from such an extraordinary labor of compassion.

Maleki’s hyperrealism is likewise rooted in obsessive compassion. But he also draws from his gift as a storyteller. In “Omens of Hafez,” one young woman is wearing a ring on her right hand, the other only a watch, both waiting.

"Empty sandals" is a clever way to suggest each woman is waiting for someONE. The poetry book being opened does Hafez justice with its double entendre, hinting at wedding night sensuality. There’s a subtle contrast in the facial expressions of the two characters. The soft trace of hesitation in the older girl’s face is enigmatic. What is there to fear about becoming a woman?

In the next painting, we see a possible answer. In this image, the age difference in the characters is more extreme. It is no longer possible to nuance the obvious. The infant is sleep to the world. The young girl looks on, perhaps with envy, at the younger sibling who has displaced her as the baby. She is on her way to the reality that her mother experiences. The angular motif in the background window echoes a similar pattern on the carpet in the first painting, connecting the themes. The sandals in this painting are now full, by the way.

I asked an Iranian woman friend about this painting. This was her comment:

“There is fear, and there is resignation, worry and perhaps even feelings of betrayal among many other feelings, all encapsulated on the face of the young mother holding her newborn. This is an undeniably huge commitment sitting on her lap. The unknowns on the road ahead are even huger. Is the father a war 'martyr'? An absentee dad? Is there a 'havoo' somewhere in the picture? Will she end up having to beg for her and her kids' livelihood? Is she rejected because she has given birth to yet another daughter?”

Maleki is an artist who sees fit to pay a brush stroke for every human suffering, using detail to flagellate himself in sympathy with his subject. He reflects a Shiite culture in shedding visible tears for the suffering of others, and reveals an Iranian mindset in respecting our tradition of detail in visual arts. The best carpets take years to weave; inlay artists sacrifice their eyesight, and tile workers grow old with unfinished mosques. Iran's aesthetic culture is more comfortable with styles where clear references exists by which to judge a work. In showcasing labor and commitment Maleki makes his work immediately accessible to a larger audience, yet in energy and impact, he holds his own against more exclusive abstract styles.

Sometimes, however, the traditions that give strength to Maleki’s art also conspire against him. He is brilliant at drawing attention to suffering, but tends to abandon his subjects to noble resignation. The mother in the above painting has dignity but no power. "The Fisghmonger" is trapped in his environment, just like the beautiful goldfish he can’t sell.

In meter with Iran’s traditional poetry, Maleki occasionally finds more artistic payoff in surrendering to Fate.

Philosophical bickering aside however, the above work is quite successful in what it sets out to do. By Western standards the painting may appear overly sentimental, but that is mostly because something is lost in translating the Iranian emotional vocabulary. It is probably the days before Nowruz, still winter. But for this child there is obviously never a spring. Putting philosophy back into the debate, the Nowruz symbol could have been used beyond just irony, to encourage hope.

When Maleki refuses to surrender, his images of adversity are energizing and inspirational. Below is a painting titled, “Composing Music, Secretly”—presumably so as not to alert a Baseej gang, as it is unlikely these musicians are practicing in secret for a birthday surprise.

In this image of defiance, the drum is silent, and the singer is brooding, heavy verses sagging his shoulder. Yet there is a rebellious joy in their gathering. We are moved by the almost childlike enthusiasm of these souls, who stubbornly refuse to let go of their right to “boogie.” Touchingly humorous is Maleki's pointing out that each performer has brought his own chair to the jam session. Also, he shows us it is daylight outside. The darkness is not imposed by nature, but by social circumstance. Note, there are no women in the scene, even though this is a secret gathering. In this regard a progressive reading of the painting is compromised.

Maleki’s treatment of women is sympathetic and respectful, but not empowering in a modern sense. In “Unstable Cover,” the artist shows us the hands from the da Vinci portrait, Mona Lisa. Here, the painting is not what is covered; Mona Lisa herself is draped! We could take this as a visual joke by a master painter, or read a feminist protest in it. Or both.

If Mona Lisa’s hands ripped away her hejab though, we would not see the typical Maleki woman. We would see a painting where the Italian artist has given his female subject a great deal more power.

Most strikingly, da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is looking back at the viewer. In Maleki paintings, women are often looking down, usually preoccupied with books, mementos, and other ways of being somewhere else in spirit. "The Old Album" is an example.

Maleki’s playfulness is apparent in the way he makes us guess how these three young women are related. The clue is in the black and white photo of the three of them as children. Can you tell which is which? Who was Mom’s favorite? Or maybe the sisters in the black and white picture are from the previous generation, and these women are first cousins. This is the kind of painting one can spend hours navigating emotionally. Longer than it takes to watch a movie. Not bad for a single frame! Significantly, Mom is not wearing a roosari in her mug shot. The photos are outdated technology, but Mom’s world was advanced enough she could look into the camera. The “photographer,” Maleki, does quiz himself on issues of female power; he’s just timid about it.

In contrast to his women, the stunning male portrait projects solid confidence in the charismatic subject staring at us.

Just as self-assured is Maleki’s “Achaemenid Soldier.” The diligent research into Achaemenid weaponry and military uniform is admirable. Architectural grandeur is appropriately understated, yet breathtaking. Hollywood should occasionally hire this artist as a set consultant.

The atypical narrative-starved choice of subject, however, exposes an unsoldierly hesitation in the painter. If Maleki wishes to romanticize this period of Iran’s pre-Islamic history, he certainly knows of more provocative Ahcaemenid legends he could risk. Of course depicting the defeat of the imposter Gautama--who pretended to be Iran’s legitimate ruler—may have Maleki chalking murals on Evin prison walls. Safer, but just as communicative would have been, Cyrus freeing the Jews of Babylon, or Xerxes lashing the sea. After seeing “Achaemenid Soldier” I am curious as to how Maleki would treat historic/legendary themes--pre-Islamic or otherwise--that give a better workout to his talent for hidden commentary.

To illustrate, see Jacque-Louis David’s propagandistic “Oath of the Horati,” completed during the years leading up to the French revolution. David is recognized as an influential painter because he used romanticized historical themes to participate in the political debates of his time.

The testosterone on canvas notwithstanding, Horace (center) is making the ultimate sacrifice, offering up his sons in the service of the Roman Republic. It is obvious that David’s mind is not as complex as Maleki’s, yet the French painter is more assertive in making his political statements.

Western artists such as David, da Vinci and Denis Peterson are important in part because of their skill and innovation, but also because they come from cultures that dominate the modern global power scene. Renaissance painters catered to emerging capitalism, the sons in David’s painting above symbolize French colonies, and Petersen’s Darfur painting, “Don’t Shed No Tears” provokes America to intervene with her wealth. Iran too is no longer an “extra” in the global power drama, and has found a “speaking role” in History, so the voice of our best artists has the potential to carry much further into the future, and much wider across societies. Iran's artists are more important now than they have been ever since the Safavids.

Which brings me to the most urgent aspect of modern art criticism. Financial advice! Sell your belongings to snap up the right Maleki paintings, as they come along.

* Website with bigger pics of the Maleki paintings.
* Visit


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more from Ari Siletz

'I wonder what is underneath' ... stilteled

by Joubin Houshyar (not verified) on

Salaam Azarin,
First of all, Happy Valentine's day!
I think you misread my post. I merely commented on the notion of "originality", which is not a matter of 'taste'. Unless Goldfish are involved.
Aesthetics, at best, is about the natural response. Evaluation of originality is (clearly) a learned behavior.
The issue is text and reading of text. And all texts are mirrors. Some are difficult. Some are quite easy.
I am suggesting, and it is certainly not my intent to be rude here (do note, dear Azarin), that an original mind would see the originality of Iman's work. Even if s/he had to dive beneath the superficial surface.
After all, in the age of Photoshop, the image is merely a tool.
Whatever we say, we are speaking of our selves. We are original when we are truthful. (This may not please everyone.)
& Everyone has a unique secret.
The artists role is very much akin to the actor's role, in society, it thus follows.
St. John points a hand to heart and a finger points to the Heavens.
That man (Leonardo) has got a Secret. It hangs on my wall.
It is a difficult doctrine this doctrine of 'the reader of text', and that is why it is generally rejected.
Because it is a difficult fact to accept.
Consider: some read Qur'an and they find Bliss. Others read the same, and are horrified.
And the ultimate text is our sentient context of being. Some find Joy in living, some do not.
The Joy was there before the Reading. So was the dread. Respectively.
(Man who turns into a cockroach. That'll be news for quite a while, you're right!)
Iranian names are beautiful names. Azarin is a case in point!
~A Spark of Divine Fire~
Very nice. You should write more.
/& Salaam!


Secret of ...

by Bahramerad on

Please have a look at this video made from pictures of Maleki's drawings.


Azarin Sadegh

Dear Joubin

by Azarin Sadegh on

Dear Joubin,

Art is not an objective matter, like math or science. But it is more like religion: Subjective, irrational, rebellious, coming with its own kind of fanatism, uncertain but always trying to define new norms for the absoluteness.

For me, a good art, should make me think or even wonder, like a puzzle. But as I said it is only my opinion and as I said “Des goûts et des couleurs...” (If you don’t know French, it means there are matters like tastes and preference in colors that should never be discussed.)

You are free to love these paintings and I am free not to love them. You are free to misunderstand Kafka or even not to understand him at all,...but anyway, it doesn't make him a less important writer.

Yes! Kafka is dead, but you can just Google Kafka's name to see how much he is alive, even today.   The irony is that he even didn’t want to get published as long as he was alive, so his fame came after his death.

Let's wait to see if these paintings of yours are also going to survive the passage of the time? The history will reveal who is going to remain and who is going to disappear for good. At least for Kafka, we already know the answer!

So please take it easy and please don't feel offended if others don't think the way you like them to think and please feel free to interpret my comments as you wish. It really doesn’t matter.



PS: BTW, I like your first is very nice. 

Ari Siletz


by Ari Siletz on

I enjoyed your thoughtful comment regarding artistic narcissism, especially these days. I also sense  you are hip to the distinction between exploring the self, and exploring the Self (capital "S"). A critic's tightrope for sure, but leaves room for appreciating more introverted artists.

Also, nice read on the goldfish bowl. "Fishmonger" is an unfortunate translation. Unless, as your comment reveals, the translator meant to interpose a gastronomic interpretation.




"As kafka says..."

by Joubin Houshyar (not verified) on

He's dead, isn't he? (But he wasn't kidding about his predisposition to stab his readers.)
So what does Azarin "say" (beyond re-serving microwave heated bon mots of others)?
Does the fact that Azarin quotes Kafa (and others render her comments null of "original" meaning, and thus, unworthy of letting its mental letters from even coming near our dear "originality" starved brain cells, much less allow them to caress them?
Should we completely ignore Azarin?
Should we say 'she is merely good at recalling the words of actual thinkers. That is a skill which should not be confused with the Art of thinking'?
I like Iman's Works, precisely because they lack the narcissistic (and clearly anachronistic at this point) impulse to "self" expression, which can not be either morally or philosophically supported as a 'meaningful' or civilized action in our time.
In a way, Azarin, one can view (Hyper) Realism as ultimately a commentary on the reader/viewer. It may be, have you considered?, that Iman has just stabbed you and your bleeding Kafka's words is the PROOF of his blade.
Ari: Thanks for the informative post. I read the bowl of Goldfish as a commentary on the futility of bottled symbolism. And remain certain the kid is no "fish monger". Last I checked we don't eat the Goldfish. But we could. (It certainly would be an "Artistic" act, for sure! Try it this Spring Azarin!)
/& Salaam
p.s. PhD: Spoken like a true worm [Topology]! Afarin.


The Theosophy of Bare Foot...

by Abol Danesh (not verified) on

But the material artifact left by Allah himself on earth testifies that He not only has the fear of height as it is reprensented in his dwellings but also it seems he is recommending everyone self independence in conducting business one goes higher and higher in the structured edifice there is no guaratee that the pump man always reliably keep sending water to the high up units for water usage and toilet flushing...

Now having said that let me see how much money I left in my checking account to see if I can cover my dependents' boarding and tution expenses...


A Chat

by Theosopher (not verified) on

"Does Allah Exist?
Is there a time limit for its existence?
Is there a priori originator to Allah?
What would be the world look like if allah vanishes?
Does allah have cock? if So he does it look like in specific size and measure?"

I am not sure what you mean by Allah (I do not follow any particular religion) but I take it as 'Pure Existence', or Existence per se. Or simply 'Existence' (in its absolute state).

"Does Allah Exist?"

YES. It can not be 'otherwise'. 'Existence exists' is a 'self evident' proposition where the subject and predicate are identical.
It is like saying light is bright or 1=1. Existence can NOT 'not exist'. It is a logical contradiction.

"Is there a time limit for its existence?"

No. Existence per se is 'prior' to time. Not 'temporally' prior but 'existentially' prior. Time is a 'production' of pure Being. Time is 'in a sense' identical with 'matter', and 'change'.
There can be no 'time limit' for 'Existence' since it encompasses and surpasses its own product: time. It surpasses it 'existentially', i.e. it is in a 'higher' state of being than time/matter.

"Is there a priori originator to Allah?"

NO. Impossible. Logically impossible. Pure Existence can not have a predecessor/originator. There is no 'greater' than 'Absolute/Infinite'. There can not be '2' Infinites. Absolute infinite (in 'existential' aspects) can not be but ONE.

"What would be the world look like if allah vanishes?"

Nonesense. Absolute Existence 'can not' vanish. The sentence 'Existence does not exist' is a self contradictory hence logically wrong.

"Does allah have cock? if So he does it look like in specific size and measure?"

Only 'limited' material entities 'can' have cocks.
Infinite Being can not take 'limits'. Then it would be 'limited' and this is logical contradiction.

Only humans like Mirza Abol Hassan khan Danesh 'can' have a human's cock. This is only a 'logical possibility'. Whether he 'actually' does have it or not is not guaranteed. Only his 'divorced' two wives can actually testify to the actual physiological defacto fact.

Ari Siletz


by Ari Siletz on

You hit the nail on the head regarding my main criticism of Maleki. He needs to make bolder statements. What guidance can his art provide Iran's collective unconscious about nuclear bombs, for instance?


Bare Foot: The Second Law of Thermodynamic...

by Danesh (not verified) on

I am unable to grasp the entire edifice ontologicly if I don't know the material foundation to that despite your excellent effort to blow up the background for a better illucidation for illumination...particularly when such material base paradoxicly rooted both in heaven (Rain) and earth (Rial)without a clear and explainable organic (necessary) link between them...

finally if the water can't be pumpted to the head of this tall edifice it makes no difference if rain begins pouring in days non-stop...

So in simple word I say in response to your inquiry:

I Do Not Know...

Ari Siletz


by Ari Siletz on

If I understood your allegorical metaphysics correctly, here's a link that may actually work: 


Ari Siletz



Bare Foot...Ari Siletz

by Abol Hassan Danesh, Sociologist (not verified) on

You need to ask the question from the God...I am enclosing his picture but first read his "The Phenomenology of Mind" before embarking on his dialectic of the "unity of Opposite"... and you must know what I am refering to? co-existence... well... well... welll...

Ari Siletz

barefoot and sociologist,

by Ari Siletz on

Since you guys are obviously in the "groove" with Maleki's sensuality, why do you suppose he has high rises in the background getting taller by the day?

Here's a blowup of the background: //


Bare Foot...epistemology

by Danesh, Ph.D. (not verified) on

---Keeping mind active---

Does Allah Exist?
Is there a time limit for its existence?
Is there a priori originator to Allah?
What would be the world look like if allah vanishes?
Does allah have cock? if So he does it look like in specific size and measure?
What would be the smell of Allah nuclear waste If allah for its own ontlogical existence adopt nuclear weapon?


Bare foot: Inductive, Deductive, Ontology, epistemology, Phil.

by Abol Hassan Danesh, Doctor of Philosophy (not verified) on

Sar garmeee...


Bare Foot...

by Abol Hassan Danesh, Sociologist (not verified) on


The theory will make sense as long as the barefoot itself has ontologicly beauty onto itself in order to render the stated proposition epistemologicly applicable to the entire body, grass root up, in inductive method of reasoning and verification...

Now let me sit down enjoy the foothill of alborz moutain range full of wild poppies in vibrant color before I ascend to the Damavand summit for hot and juicy kisses...



by Zarebin (not verified) on

The higher magnification, Ari, almost damaged my eye sight! You acted as judge and joury and your largges is so evident of your enthusiasm about Maleki,s work.I was also mesmorized by it. But,(you probably expected the "but")to me, something is missing, that originality, that quality that hits you like a bolt of electricity. Its been observed that people cry when they look at Rothko's works.(// And to some people, any 6 years old child can replicate that. Art does not have a universal definition. What we get from the dictionaries and art classes are so nebolous and capricoius that leaves a lot to our own devices. So without infriging on your enjoyment, I say if you like it then it is (or could be)art.

Ari Siletz

For Zarebin

by Ari Siletz on

Salaam Zarebin, Thanks for calling me on the carpet regarding clarity. Here is the critique at a higher magnification: The early paragraphs of the critique argue "the medium is the message," in direct response to "why not just use a photo." The following paragraphs address the question indirectly by showing that there is more to a Maleki painting than his choice of style. These were the evaluation categories in report card format: Emotional impact: A+ Projects extraordinary sympathy, making good use of the symbolic language of his own culture. Communicativeness: A Excellent talent for narrative. Social relevance: A+ Themes address the social issues of his community. Social activism: B+ Ahead of his contemporaries (in Iran) but still hesitant. Technical mastery: A+ I leave matters of form, color, texture, pedigree, etc to the better informed. Also, Please see comment below from film historian, Darius Kadivar, praising Mr. Maleki's art. Film is so realistic, it even has sound and motion, yet some film directors are also great artists. A bit more aggresiveness, and Mr. Maleki has the potential to go from an admired painter to becoming one of Iran's most beloved painters. Regards, Ari Siletz


Bare foot: Aboslute nudity on display ...

by Abol Dnesh (not verified) on thing is sure... a woman wrapped up all over from top to bottom except her bare foot make her like all naked from head to toe except her foot covered by her socks--

pease print this for widespread distribution

Darius Kadivar

Great Review Ari ( More like Vermeer to me)

by Darius Kadivar on

I noticed this amazing painter too and I couldn't agree more with your assessments on his classic David Like Approach. David was a propagandist unlike lets say Goya but he certainly did it well ;0)

We owe a great deal to all these Classic Painters and I think that Hollywood Epics like the Robe or Quo Vadis ? were very much influenced by the "David" Like depictions of Ancient Times.

Also all the films made on the napoleonic era are truly indepted to such works. I am always fascinated by the realistic yet kind of dreamlike quality in such painting and Maleki reders this to a large degree. He also reminds me of some painting by Vermeer


And his use of Light to show texture and clothing as well as natural poses.

In Anycase BEAUTIFUL !

Thanks for sharing,


Azarin Sadegh

Les goûts et les couleurs, ça ne se discute pas!

by Azarin Sadegh on

I like these ones better and they are classics: //  or

// or

// etc, etc.

As I said before, my problem with these paintings (and with your links) is mainly about their originality. They have been done before, a long time ago.

Anna Karenina is a great novel, and definitely an original in his time. But I like Dostoevsky better than Tolstoy. I have always preferred the truth (or even better our quest to find it) to the reality (even if Dostoevsky admired Tolstoy and Anna Karenina!).

To be honest, yet I haven't read any good book, void of originality, otherwise it becomes just a bunch of clichés and I am sure you know nothing is worse than the use of clichés in writing! 

I think artists are supposed to learn the basic rules of their particular art (so any good painter should know the skill of copying the nature), but the real art starts from the moment when the artist finally decides to break those same rules to echo his/her own voice and style. Voila!

But as they say: Les goûts et les couleurs,...



To Anti-Birahm

by Reformed Fornicator (not verified) on

Baba! So you used photoshop too!

I heard even Kamalol Molk used photoshop and he was one of the pioneer of using that software.

Photoshop gives you line idea and it's not that you actually sit and draw in Photoshop to come up with a huge painting.

Many painters use projectors and project a photograph into the canvas and then slowly and painstakenly draw the image while indulging in wine and hashish and whatever drug they find. The end result is very "realistic" (no shit it better be realistic!)

So, for those of you who have not projected yet (I will be amazed if there is any painter out there who has not) you can import a desireable image to photoshop and modify it in anyway you want too. You can soften edges or sharpen, solarize slightly, brush stroke slightly and just enough to make the photograph turn into a semi drawing look. When you are happy, you export the result to a disk, print a picture or if you have modern projectors, you just porject it from Photoshop to your canvas and start painting.

Maleki is a very good painter, but this does not mean that if someone talks about Photoshop in this forum has insulted someone's mother. There are lots of fraudesters out there. Using Photoshop is not a crime, trying to sell the end result as something else is.

If you have any qeustion call collect....any nice chick out there in search of sugar daddy?


Our Community to anti-birham

by kimia on

kimia yar

I should thankyou for putting it so well.  envious community.  I think Iranians as individuals may have succeeded; yet as a community we are not unifies.  ( now don't criticize me, but take a look at how the jewish community has flourished in the U.S.

They help and encourage and advertise for oneanother.

His work is stunning. More power to him



Great Art is Relative according to the school you prefer!

by anti-birahm (not verified) on

Azarin, what about this work:
Doesn't it stab? Doesn't it define a world without center? isn't it original? what are those newspapers flying in the air? Can that happen in the 'real world'? Then what is the artist trying to say? This isn't 'realism', isn't it?

or this:
This one is not realism either, I see symbols... Then he is not all doing 'replicas' of reality, He is conveying some secondary meanings, isn't he?

Even his first painting in the collection is not pure realism:
it has strong traces of impressionism, the blurring of colors and the play with lights and colors.

"Kafka said a good book should stab. And Orhan Pamuk says we write to define a world without center, to prove there is only one humanity.

A good book is supposed to tickle our brain cells, to make us wonder, to ask questions, to make us doubt and observe and maybe deny, etc. no matter the style or the voice, but the common point in all great books is their originality, their rebellion, their difference with the norm, something to make them distinguishable, unique, unforgettable. Something that couldn’t be achieved by anyone other the writer or the artist.
So, I guess a good painting or Art in general is supposed to do the same."

Kafka and the other surrealists or symbolists are right but they don't say the 'whole truth'. Every artist or school of arts defines 'beauty' or 'the good book' according to their own 'criteria'.

However, what would you say of great 'realistic' masterpieces of literature like Tolstoy's War and Peace or his Anna Karenina? I enjoy them more than Kafka's works or Hedayat's Blind Owl. They are all great! Depending on how you define excellence and what is your 'taste' for greatness.

Azarin Sadegh

As kafka says...

by Azarin Sadegh on

Kafka said a good book should stab. And Orhan Pamuk says we write to define a world without center, to prove there is only one humanity.

A good book is supposed to tickle our brain cells, to make us wonder, to ask questions, to make us doubt and observe and maybe deny, etc. no matter the style or the voice, but the common point in all great books is their originality, their rebellion, their difference with the norm, something to make them distinguishable, unique, unforgettable. Something that couldn’t be achieved by anyone other the writer or the artist.

So, I guess a good painting or Art in general is supposed to do the same.



I did not know who Iman

by anti-birahm (not verified) on

I did not know who Iman Maleki was until I just saw his works today. He is a realist artist who has been taught by great master Morteza Katouzian in Iran from an early age and after 20 years of experience and teaching he has won many awards one of them being an international one, as I just read in his website:
"In 2005, Iman received the William Bouguereau award and the Chairman's Choice award in the second international ARC salon competition."

I am an arts fan for many years and I have been visiting painting galleries in Iran and the US for many years (15 years) and I have had some education (though not extensive) in drawing and painting under some prominent artists in Iran like Mr Esmailzadeh, Mr Atashzad and a few other ones. So I know a bit what I am talking about, in addition to that I have had the opportunity to study the different schools of literature and painting.

The school of Realism is one of the greatest schools of painting in the world mostly originating in France in the 19th century and many great artists came out of this school.
I am really sorry and sad now after reading the comments below. It seems that in our Iranian community we are so prejudiced, uneducated and envious of each other that we can not appreciate the beauties created by any of our countrymen. We try to put him down even though we might not be aware of what the guy is creating or what are the true criteria for a good work of art.
One guy is saying that he is using Photoshop! It is funny! I am a photoshop expert myself, not in painting but for other puroposes, and I have tried to paint in Photoshop and studied many works of painting created in Photoshop by others. I let you know this first of all if you want to paint in Photoshop like the works Iman has done you must be 'first' a master of painting in real world, with brush and canvas and then spend a year or two to learn all the photoshop tools to be able to mimic the real world painting into the virtual world of computer. This means that painting in Photoshop (with this quality) is much harder than working in the real world!

Iman has studied under the greatest (or one of the greatest) contemporary Iranian painters belonging to the school of realism and everyone who knows this master or his students (I had a short 2 months class with one of his pupils who is now a master teaching painting in Tehran) know that how much hardship and hard work they had to endure to stay in his classes, because he was an extremely disciplined and hard working instructor.

I have 2 more sad notes to make here to those irresponsible people making 'sarshekami' comments about Iman's great paintings.
One is that if he is so cheap an artist that you guys think then how come this international society decided to award him:
"In 2005, Iman received the William Bouguereau award and the Chairman's Choice award in the second international ARC salon competition. "
Were they blind and uneducated or were they bribed by Iman to give him that prize?! Or is it that something is wrong with you guys?

The other comment is this: If the school of realism is so cheap and 'non-creative' as you 'creative' guys think then how come this school is praised both in literature and in the film-making art (everyone calls God-Father a great movie because of its 'realism') and painting all over the world?

When I saw Iman's work before reading any commentary I was stunned by the precision, beauty and realism of his works and instantly I knew that he was a student of the great master Katouzian.

May the day come that we use and not 'mis-use' freedom of expression and stop our childish behaviour of 'despising' each other and -most importantly- get some 'education' and knowledge in what we want to criticize. AMIN!


To Zarehbin

by Number 2 Charlatan (not verified) on

Is he really using photographs to draw his paintings? If that is the case then he is a fraud for not disclosing it (perhaps he has disclosed).

A lot of paintings these days are a cooperation between a half-ass artist and Photoshop!

But throughout Euorope, many painters used mirrors and draw the canvas from the reflected image in the mirror which makes it much easier to secotrize the canvas with measurement of the mirror. The entire market of European paintings is nothing but a mafia-driven hype. A lot of these paintings are drawn from ugly rich, fat, corrupt who would pay to be painted. A persian antique rug that has none like it in the world sells for $5,000 and an ugly face of a pedofile priest drawn somewhere in Europe sells for $5,000,000. It is all fake.

Long live photoshop!


no original concept

by bebe (not verified) on

What Iman does, many others have done too. The end result is a copy, a good copy, but it IS a copy, and void of originality. Some people like that sort of thing, but to be considered a great artist, one has to have some original concept. It could be originality in design of a painting, in color applications , in use of lines or points, choice of colors, lighting, etc, etc, get the point. What he and other realists like him do, is to replicate. There is no creative design here. All the elements are as is. The end point is there, and he just tries to emulate a photo. Just try and compare it to some of the great painters that you know. They all have an original idea there. ALL OF THEM.


He is just a good realist painater, but far from great. There are a lot of inconsistancies in and within his paintings.

There is always some oooohh & ahhhhh at this sort of thing, and some market for it for people who say..."ahhh mesleh akseh, how real!!", but the true artistic value lies elsewhere.


Iman Maleki

by Zarebin (not verified) on

Ari: You never peropose a logical answer to your own question in the fist paragraph. These paintings are replications, pixel by pixel, from photographs. It should be categorized as skill not art. Yes it is time consuming and requires skill and patience, but I do not see any artistic value in them Sorry.