By: Shamsi Shahrokhi
During my latest trip to my homeland of Iran in October 2012, I met one of Iran’s famous artists,Iran Darroudi, at the airport in Tehran. Iran Darroudi is my favorite artist, and she was my husband’s professor at Sharif Industrial University in 1972. As a fellow female Iranian artist, I appreciate all her accomplishments and would like to dedicate this article to her.
Iran Darroudi was born in Mashhad, Iran on September 2, 1936. Her father was interested in the arts and particularly in painting. He was her first art instructor, and taught her primary lessons in painting, like the importance of lines, volumes and colours. Her mother wasa pianist and taught Darroudi her first piano lessons. Darroudi had a passion for both music and painting that showed many years later in her artwork.
In 1937, her family moved to Hamburg and lived there until Europe entered into World War II. The Nazi government told all foreign citizens to leave Germany. Iran’s father decided to take his family back to Iran, leaving behind all their belongings. They lived in Mashhad near the Green Dome mosque. That same mosque had a great influence on her artwork and was seen in her paintings. Afterwards, in 1945, the family moved to Tehran where she completed secondary school in 1954. Then Darroudi joined her sister in Paris to study at l’École des Beaux Arts. During her years there she showed her work in curricular exhibitions, and took part in group salons and exhibitions, earning her a few prizes. Her first solo Exhibition was held in Miami in 1958 and her first exhibition
in Iran was held in April 1960 at the Farhang Hall.
In winter 1966 in New York, she met Parviz Moqaddasi, who was studying television direction, and married him. They came back to Iran, and began to work at the newly established Iranian television organization as producer and director for 6 years. Her most important work was a 55 minute long documentary on the 1968 Venice Biennal. The film, which showed the impact of the French Cultural revolution on this festival, revealed Iran Darroudi as an artist well capable of working with an artistic medium other than the brush. This film was dubbed in French and Italian and shown in France and Italy.
In 1969, the I.T.T. group, which had laid the Abadan- Mahshahr oil pipeline, commissioned her to paint Iranian Oil. This work was reproduced twice, in 1969 and 1970, in world-famous periodicals such as Life, Time, and Newsweek, and was later reprinted in poster form. Ahmad Shamlu, a prominent Iranian poet, names the piece: “Our Veins, the Earth’s Veins”.
Darroudi was an honorary professor and taught a course on the Knowledge and History of Art, where my husband was her student. Beginning in 1971, Darroudi spent two years teaching this course to students in industrial fields, always emphasizing that “science and industry are not separate from art and aesthetics.”
Darroudi held several successful exhibitions in Paris, at the atrium artist galleryin Geneva, at the Galarie 21 in Zurich, and at the Mexican Museum of Art. In 1974 a film on Iran’s life, directed by Stoloff was broadcast on American TV .
After the death of her husband in 1985, Darroudi continued to paint and display her work, proving herself a never ending artist. Her most important exhibitions in this period were held at the Azadi Cultural Complex in Tehran (1992), Gallery 54 in New York, and at the United Nations headquarters in New York (1994). After her exhibition at the UN building, she wrote her autobiography, titled “In The Distance Between Two Points…!”, published three years later in Tehran. The publication of her book earned her invitations
from various universities and Iranian cultural societies in Europe and America, including Berkeley University, the University of California and the Iranian Studies Center in London.
In her paintings and lectures alike, she stresses upon her love for Iran. Although she learned how to paint in France and spent most of her life abroad, she has remained Iranian, rooted in the soil of her fatherland. She writes: “I have learned the culture of today’s painting in France, but I am rooted in my fatherland’s culture. Painting is an art which, I believe, reveals the painter’s national identity. I am proud of the identity that transpires of my paintings.” Iran Daroudi is a true inspiration and champion of Iranian artists living in the diaspora.
To view more of Iran Darroudi’s work:
Shamsi Shahrokhi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org