Iranian painter Homa Arkani: Beautycraze
In spite of strict moral regulations, plastic surgery is allowed in Iran. More than 60,000 Iranian women per year get nose surgery. Such contradictions have informed Tehran-born artist Homa Arkani's work since 1983.
Despite strictly enforced moral guidelines, plastic surgery is allowed in Iran. For instance, more than 60,000 Iranian women per year undergo nose surgery. Tehran-born artist Homa Arkani has made a name for herself exploring such contradictions since 1983. (all images: Homa Arkani)
This half clown mask reflects the fragmentation Iranian women feel between the pressure of traditional customs and the desire for western modernity.
Young Iranians' hopes and fears go largely unnoticed. Arkani gives the young generation's predicament a surreal face.
Many Iranian "city girls" are interested in clothes and parties. But under moral laws imposed by the country's religious leaders, the women have to be demure in public and keep their bodies hidden up to their faces.
American movie stars, known from satellite television, serve as role models. For many Iranian women, the ideal of beauty is blond, slim, tanned and has lots of make-up. Until recently, a light complexion was considered especially desirable.
Some women get their eyebrows tattooed, make their lips full, accentuate their cheekbones and overall adopt a diva's attitude. Cell phones and the Internet ensure the necessary connectedness.
Arkani also has begun working as a photographer. She takes young women from her circle of friends as models. "They smile and want to convey a sense of ease," Arkani says, "but I see sadness in their eyes."
Arkani has had exhibits in different galleries in Iran, but some were shut for fear of repression. While Arkani only shows her work in private exhibits these days, she continues to gain fame in Iran.
Adaptation of Western consumerism and hedonism: In her paintings, Homa Arkani shows the faces of a new generation that rejects the values of both traditionally-minded Iranians and of the intellectually-minded middle-class.
Between stove and record turntable: Homa Arkani depicts societal and cultural contradictions and compulsions in public life of the Islamic Republic, broaching the issue of the inner conflicts of Iran's younger generation.