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Lot Details

Signed, dated and inscribed in English and Arabic 'FARAH OSSOULI / 2002' (lower centre)
Further signed, dated and inscribed in English and Arabic 'FARAH OSSOULI / WAITING / 2002 / GOUACHE ON CARDBOARD' (on the reverse)

Private collection, Dubai

Reflective of Iranian history and tradition that incorporated many religions and cultures into its realms, the interaction of cultures and exchange of ideas enabled a vibrant cultural and artistic heritage from which Farah Ossouli draws inspiration for her works.

Ossouli pioneered the introduction of contemporary themes and ideas into miniature painting. Her modern take on Persian miniatures resembles highly decorated minarets with their geometric and calligraphic designs that tell countless stories. However, her most significant influence is from Iranian poems, which for her is as enduring as human nature. In her works, she portrays stories of love, violence, friendship, and family; themes that are as timeless as in the times of Persian miniature.

The current lot titled, 'Waiting' shows Farah's thin and precise brushwork in an unbelievably detailed idiom. The woman, portrayed in bright and vibrant colors, is shown through a cutaway with exterior views visible in the facade. Lighting throughout the picture is even while the whole work is divested of shadows. The picture is in a vertical format that is reminiscent of Persian miniatures influenced by Chinese scrolls in the 14th century.

In typical miniatures, there are often panels of text inside the picture area enclosed in a frame. Ossouli replaces the spaces for text with a broader band of color that borders the image, manipulating both the picture area and the scale of the figure. The rest of the work is in dense and detailed design; particularly the background which was achieved through extremely delicate and controlled brushwork, as evident in the details of the plants, the birds and the patterns on the clothes.

Replete in symbolism in a modern retelling of stories, Farah appropriates the language of miniature painting into her work turning it into a contemporary idiom that is both timeless and teeming with history.

Farah Ossouli

Born in 1953 in Iran, Ossouli received her Diploma in Painting at the Girl's School of Fine Arts in Tehran in 1971 before completing a Bachelor's of Art in Graphic Design at the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Tehran in 1977. She was a professor at the Design Studio (1972 -1977) and Moaser Studio (1981-1987) in Tehran before painting full-time. Known for her modern take on Persian miniatures and her bold use of colors, she draws deep inspiration from the plight of women, Persian poetry, and classical Western art in her works. Ossouli evolved her distinct style through the unique fusion of techniques, materials, and themes set in the history of Persian iconography and heritage. Farah received her first award at “Ayeneh dar Ayeneh” in Tehran in 1997. Later she won the Renowned Iranian Women Award (2000) and the Iranian Women Artists Prize (2002). An active member of the art community, she has sat on several boards and jury panels over the years including the First International Fajr Festival of Visual Arts at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (2009). Ossouli exhibits widely both in her native Iran and abroad. Her work is in many prestigious collections, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), USA; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA; Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi, India; Tropen Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Ludwig Museum, Koblenz, Germany; and in the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Tehran, Iran.