Despite Tightening Up Of Society, Iranian Art Sees A Boom

The Persian word for "love" is spelled out in Swarovski crystals and glitter, with a small footnote from the artist: "A picture is worth a thousand words and a word a thousand pictures." The estimate wasn't high enough.

When the acrylic painting on canvas sold at Bonhams in Dubai two years ago for a historic $1,048,000, the Iranian creator Farhad Moshiri became the first artist from the region to break the $1 million price barrier at auction.

It was a breakthrough moment -- not just for Moshiri, but for Iranian art, which for the last few years has been experiencing what experts say is a "golden age." Largely attributable to the stabilization of the Dubai art market and strong ties between the United Arab Emirates and Iran, the boom is also being fueled by a younger generation of artists attempting to push the boundaries of freedom of expression.

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