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Art

A world of circus and theater
Laleh Khorramian awarded 2003 Iranian American Art Scholarship

By Maryam Ovissi & Termeh Rassi
April 16, 2004
iranian.com

Evolving Perceptions (EP) has announced the winner of its 2003 Iranian American Art Scholarship. The recipient is Laleh Khorramian, a student at New York's Columbia University where she is pursuing her master's degree in fine art. See paintings

This is the third year that EP has been offering it's art scholarship, the only scholarship of it's kind in the United States to an Iranian-American studying fine arts. [See: 2002/2001 winners Kamrooz Aram and Amir Fallah]. Laleh will be using the $1000 cash award to fund an animation project she is currently working on at Columbia.

In choosing Laleh, the EP's board of directors was marked both by the quality of her work as an artist, as well as her commitment to the artistic community.

Laleh's art merges the magic of theater and the fine arts. Her works evokes both pleasure and pain often set in a world of circus and theater. Her artist's statement captures it best when it states, "While creating a conversation between detail and mass, her storytelling manner is often staged in circus and theatrical settings in an attempt to reimagine reality and the actuality of exaggerated representation. Much of the work is conceived through image making that involves organic consequences as part of the material process..."

Laleh decided to commit herself t her art at the age of 20. She decided to become an artist professionally and credits her father with helping her discover the artist within. She says he is "completely responsible for me discovering what I love to do. Before that I was bored with everything. When I was 15, I must have made something that caught his attention. After that he used to make me do 20-30 drawings everyday before I could leave the house. He was persistent and rigid in this respect, and gradually I just became genuinely involved."

Laleh does not make her Iranian heritage the object or focus of her work and while it may not be a part of her process consciously, she does recognize that there are influences that can be felt in the overall quality of her work. It comes through in "details, the mosaic, fascination with population, with kitch, with dramatic emotion, both in poetry and cultural gesture and behavior, as well as the melancholy, and nostalgia."

She adds: "My father used to have me copy Persian miniatures paintings. Although, I really appreciated their visual construction and excessive quality, the stories were too unbelievable to me. I always had the desire to subvert the pictures, and make up my own naughty version. Now, I am inadvertently making my version of miniature paintings based on the theatricality of miniatures and Italian early Renaissance monastic painting."

One of her greatest influences is the cinema. She states, "Fantasy, staging of reality, reality recomposed. I think cinematically and work cinematically. I like to imagine making paintings that share a temporal experience to how one would see a film."

Most of the times, it is perceived that it is the very internality of the artist that leads to their success. It is thought that it is the focus on the self that enables reflection and depiction of the inner turmoil, joy or pain. Laleh proves otherwise through her commitment not just to her own art but also to her community.

She turned recent visit to Iran to research new directions in Iranian art into an opportunity to present the works of Iranian artists to the outside world. Last month, Laleh and Media Farzin curated the exhibition "Turning Points: Seven Iranian Artists" at the LeRoy Neiman Gallery at Columbia University.

EP is very proud to award our 3rd annual scholarship to Laleh Khorramian. We need your support to continue providing scholarships and encouragement to young artists from the fields of visual arts, writing and film. To learn more about the organization and our community projects please visit EvolvingPerceptions.com or contact Maryam Ovissi with further questions at 202-607-0754. The 2004 Iranian-American Scholarship fund details are listed on our web site.

You can help support the young and talented creative minds in our community by making a donation to EP.

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