Israel Consulate Sponsors Extraordinary Iranian-Israeli Collaborative Art Exhibition

An Israeli artist and an Iranian photographer innovate by collaborating on simultaneous art exhibitions in Houston and Israel.

The artwork by Houston-based Iranian photographer Ashkan Roayaee and Israeli painter Keren Farago features dancers from local Houston companies, photographed by Roayaee and portrayed as paintings by Farago. In Houston, the exhibit is called “Dream Peace” and is sponsored by the Consulate General of Israel in the Southwest, along with Sawyer Yards and Que Imaging. It runs until January 23 at the Silos of Sawyer Yards, 1502 Sawyer St., Gallery 100.

“When a dance is artistically choreographed, it’s called a piece, similar to a work of art,” Roayaee told JHV. “This thought, mixed with a peaceful relationship between two Iranian and Israeli artists, respectively, inspired the collaboration that is“ Dance Peace ”.

Work of Israeli painter Keren Farago

When Farago discovered Roayaee’s photographs of dancers on Instagram in 2017, she began painting them against the backdrop of pages taken from books, atlases and sheet music that were being discarded. Soon Roayaee discovered his work and loved what he was seeing.

“She started painting my pieces and I really admired and liked her style – it was really unique,” ​​Roayaee said. “And I contacted her and I said, ‘Did you know I’m from Tehran, Iran? And she said, ‘No, this is crazy!’ So she started to get impatient about it.

Soon after, Farago had 50-60 pieces featuring the Roayaee dancers. An exhibit was in the works, but they didn’t know how to make it work. Farago called the Israeli Consulate General’s office in Houston to see if he could help. Not only did they help, but they became sponsors. The only catch was they had to open just as COVD roared its ugly head, preempting them by a year.

“My job is to build a bridge between communities – between the Iranian community in the United States and the Israeli and Jewish community,” Consul General Livia Link-Raviv told JHV.

The bridge spanning the communities seems to be working. Because Roayaee’s photography features local dancers, some of their parents buy Farago paintings for their children, and the products come from Israel.

Excited by both the art and the message such an exhibition sends, Link-Raviv said, “The art brought these two people who come from another culture and another country and they succeeded. to collaborate, to do something special and that mixes with dancing, with painting. , photography and I think these three arts have brought us some wonderful works.

In Iran, where dancing is prohibited and women must dress modestly, Roayaee’s photographs of dancers, dressed in leotards, are said to be banned. To photograph dancers, he had to leave his native country. First, he went to Turkey, where he attended university and enjoyed the relative freedom he felt there. It was in Turkey that he first took a camera and discovered his vocation.

On Mother’s Day 2000, Roayaee’s parents left Iran to settle in the United States. In 2012, he joined the rest of his family in the United States and began working to create fascinating dance images.

While browsing the exhibition, one cannot help but feel the sensuality of the dancers of Roayaee.

“In addition to the sensuality of it, we try to empower women. This is something that is lacking in the Middle East, “said Roayaee,” to empower women and show them that we are all in the same boat. We are all people.

Although Farago and Roayaee never met face to face, they forged a friendship and camaraderie.

“Although the world is going crazy right now,” Roayaee added, “we just want to show that we can all work together through this art exhibition.”

For more information visit ashkanimage.com or contact Roayaee at [email protected].

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