Arghavan Khosravi

Region: MFA Annual


City / State: Natick, MA

My practice is intrinsically linked to my life experiences, yet it opens a space in which to recast memories and process the paradoxes of my childhood in Tehran, and to ground my perspective as an Iranian now living in the US.

Born soon after the Islamic Revolution, I witnessed my country’s transformation from a Western-friendly monarchy into a suppressive theocratic republic. My paintings describe the double life I have always led, adhering to Islamic law in public while thinking and acting freely in private.

My paintings weave multilingual narratives, combining traditional Islamic motifs (architecture, textiles, decorative objects, references to mythology, and religious painting) with surrealist and contemporary visual elements. This blending of Eastern and Western imagery, past and present, the religious and the secular, reality and fantasy, is symbolic of my deeply felt psychological tension.

Compositionally, the work is influenced by the tradition of Persian miniature painting, utilizing stacked perspective, cutaway views of architecture, and rich detail. I complicate the picture with contemporary messages and visual metaphors related to the themes of freedom of expression, the power dynamics between genders, suppression, and identity.