Mohammad Ali Baniasadi : One Of These Nights Past

March 4-9, 2016 ,
8:00 PM
- Tehran, Iran

It was one night from many
Through the crack between sleep and awake
The evil giant wanted to throw horror-dust in my eyes, but you were good and on my side
And you told me a story…
and went on
and on
until you put me to sleep.
Mohammad Zahra
We know of Mohammad Ali Baniasadi as a painter, a drawer and a sculptor. Yet other than testing out the different waters of various art forms, he has spent years illustrating for books and the media. The fruits of his labor are now thousands of illustrations, and numerous prizes and awards. He was chosen as a candidate for the Hans Christian Anderson Award in 2012 which placed him among the five top illustrators in the world.
Although he has illustrated a wide variety of literature, when we realize that he has illustrated Scheherazad’s 1001 nights three times, one could say that this would most likely be the favorite text of this author. His first illustrations were for a rewriting of 1001 Nights for children in three parts by Shokuh Ghasem-Nia and Nargess Abyar. (Paydayesh Publishers 2005) In 2011 he illustrated the complete translation of 1001 Nights by Mohammad Reza Marashipour (Nilufar Publishers). And his most recent illustrations of 1001 Nights by Kazem Mazinani which is under print.(Manidi Tarbiat Publishers). As a result there are all together over 200 illustrations in these three printings which would be without a doubt the largest number of illustrations since the 1900 printing of 1001 Nights by Sani-ol-Molk.
Each of these illustrations is not only a pictoral narration of the text, but stands by itself as a valuable work of art that must be appreciated. This exhibition is attempting to present these illustrations to the public separately from the books in a silkscreen reprinting worthy of their artistic value. Of course, by using this new medium and format there will be some small differences from the original illustration.
1001 Nights is about a land completely wrapped in wonder; mythical creatures and men, beggar kings and travelers on miraculous journeys, long lost loves, the hopes and prayers of the workers, humans in animal form, magicians…an awesome world full of magic and spells. Baniasadi brings these spells and magic of 1001 Nights into his illustrations. Illustrations that are a mixture of hand-drawn sketches, lithograph and computer illustration and more. He creates an atmosphere of imagination full of secrets and ciphers that awes the observer and pulls them into the world of Scheherazad’s fairy tales. In this way the illustrations of this land of Scheherazad’s temptations is not separate from ours as we see real people brimming with the activities of their daily lives.

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