shah cheragh (mirror mosque)

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The Calendar Woman for 19th November is Monir Farmanfarmaian (born 1924)

Monir Farmanfarmaian is a prominent contemporary Iranian artist who lives in Tehran and collector of traditional folk art. Though she studied and worked for several years as a fashion illustrator in New York, Monir returned to Iran in 1957 and was inspired by tribal and folk art which prompted her redirect her artistic development to coincide with this Persian inspiration. Her new focus, inspired by a visit to the Shah Cheragh mosque in Shiraz, was mirror mosaics, created by cutting up mirrors and glass paintings that are later reformed.

A visit to New York to visit friends in 1979 stranded Monir in exile during the Iranian Revolution and though she attempted to continue with her mirror mosaics, the limit resources available in America forced her to develop other aspects of her art. For the years she was in exile, she focused on commissions, textile designs, and drawings before returning once again to Iran in 1992, where she continues to work and live. Monir is credited as ‘the first modern artist to achieve an artistic practice that weds the geometric patterns and cut-glass mosaic techniques of her Iranian heritage with the rhythms of modern Western geometric abstraction’.