One of the most provocative—and therefore crowd attracting—pieces at Art Miami New York in the Spring of 2015 was Hossein Edalatkhah's Fifty Shades of Blue. The piece looks, at first glance, like traditional Middle Eastern tile work, until you see the penises. Penises and vaginas attract the same level of attention at art shows as in elementary school. Most of us have one or the other of these but, nonetheless, remain fascinated (and that is a good thing really).
The piece is part of a series by the artist entitled Beyond the Heritage.
“At the time I moved to Istanbul I noticed the ceramic art that was the same as in Iran. Also as I am extremely political and pay attention to people's social life in past and present I decided to mix it with the history and philosophy of HAREM from the Ottoman time period.” says Edalatkhah.
He lives in Istanbul but is Persian and embraces his heritage and his nation and people's history. He sees no dissonance, as an expatriate, in doing so.
“It is in my blood and also I believe if you want to make the future you have to know the past as those two belong together, “ says Edalatkhah. “If you want to talk about social life and politics you should know the now as well as the past.”
See more art at www.hosseinedalatkhah.com
“I was born in Tehran-Iran 1979 at the time of the revolution. I used to draw since I was four.” he says.
He says these drawings were “crazy and erotic” to the point where people wouldn't believe it in someone so young. He continued drawing and wound up in art school.
“My life just changed cause I felt I finally found my way of life. I ran to many shows in Tehran...then left to London to study life drawing at City Literary Art Institute,” he says. “I went out of country for more shows in Dubai, London, New York, Miami, Istanbul, Geneva, Basel and Munich.”
His aim was to be a voice—not about beauty being decorative or selling. He wanted his work to be more.
“I worked so hard on my artwork and I believe I was always attending to social life, love and peace (in relation to) humanity and sexual matters,” says Edalatkhah. “I am a gay man and you may know how hard is it to be openly gay and talk about it loudly when you are Iranian and Muslim at the same time! I love to breaking the routine rules and taboos and making things easier and making them think more openly about life...”
Edalatkhah is a multi-faceted artist.
“I am painter and at the same time I'm a sculptor too.” says Edalatkhah.
His work is often a mix of different media; he mixes these together to create new patterns in his art work. All of this is done by him as he doesn't care to involve other people in his work or ideas. He is a one man shop.
He had a show right after Art Miami New York at London Art15 and also, at the same time, in Tehran. He finds this fascinating due to his status in his homeland.
“I am not allowed to go back to my country.” he says.
It has been a long time since he has returned as he was referred to as a “rebel” and someone against God and government in Iran. When asked about the hardship of not returning home, of losing his homeland he says it is difficult but also adds;
“Yes it is (difficult) but if you believe in yourself and the things you do you would do the same as I did! Actually I sacrificed my life for my dreams, for my goals of fighting for mine and my people's rights.” says Edalatkhah .
He adds that maybe he is a very small voice but that someone needs to talk and he feels the responsibility to do so. He says it is already like prophecy in a way.
“We artists are part of history and culture and it is our job to speak out.” he says.
The new works are more rebellion and romance mixed with patterns of Persian birds and flowers...in cement. His work and his plans for the future are inspiring. He is a fitting descendant of the multitude of "envelope pushing" artists both recent and from the distant past from his homeland. He calls to mind the obvious Persian poets of centuries past but also more recent Iranian artists and poets. Referencing poets is not mixing apples and oranges either. There is a lyrical component to Edalatkhan's work. Visit his website and, more important, see his work at shows and fairs.