Description: SPECIAL CELEBRATIONS
signed and dated 2007 on the reverse
Dimensions: 243.2 by 153.6cm.; 95 3/4 by 60 1/2 in.
Artist or Maker: KAMROOZ ARAM B. 1978
Medium: oil and collage on canvas
Provenance: Perry Rubenstein Gallery, New York
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner
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Kamrooz Aram's works create a world of fantasy, a dream-like atmosphere from another world. The elegant birds encircled with an angelic burst of light sit atop stylized, smoky clouds on a background of night-vision sky. The vibrant and blossoming foliate motifs growing from a deeply rooted tree are the centrepieces of these bright and magical compositions. Aram's paintings lure the viewer on various levels, appealing to the eye, the senses, and the mind.
The artist, born in Iran and raised in the United States grew up embodying both the Eastern and the Western identities, in a world where the East is mostly regarded 'Oriental'. It was this divide between the East and the West, the Oriental and the modern that has triggered the compositions in Aram's work. Having been strongly influenced by Edward Said's 1978 book, Orientalism, Aram believes that to distinguish and view the Eastern literature, politics and social values as 'the other' in the West, causes a disconnection and distancing between the two cultures. Hence, Aram's paintings bring together the traditions of the two cultures which complement each other rather than compel.
The artist finds a common ground and similarities between these two worlds that are regarded so different; and he achieves this by using fragments and symbols of the two cultures. Aram brings in the memories of his childhood as the defining symbol of the West by incorporating the flattened visuals and the vibrant and phantasmal colours of the first video games of 1980s. This is thus enhanced by the two-dimensionality of the Persian miniatures and the foliate motifs of the carpets which encompass the three levels of the Earth: the sky, the ground and the subterranean. The elaborate roots of the trees and the intricate landscapes of the ancient Persian arts are visible in these magical compositions.
Like Aram's other works, Special Celebrations, can be interpreted around these underlying themes. The bright green explosions and the fireworks in the starry sky with the crowning of a bird above perfectly blossomed flowers seem to celebrate and glorify the peace between these two cultures, which seem to grow farther apart every passing day. The East and the West yield respectfully to a central figure, a higher purpose that nurtures and evokes tranquillity all around.