The Cheeky Safavids by Hojat Amani are here! - EMERGEAST
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03 Aug 2022

The Cheeky Safavids by Hojat Amani are here!

Nikki Meftah

We’re pleased to drop the popular Cheeky Safavids series by Hojat Amani on! Inspired by Warhol's portraits, Hojat uses bright colours and symbolism to create a stark contrast against the more traditional Safavid figures, portraying contemporary 21st Century Iran. Hojat’s works have made their way to various international solo and group exhibitions as well as in the permanent collection in the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) in Qatar.

Untitled, Cheeky Safavids series

Your Cheeky Safavids series is now live on Emergeast! Can you share with us the inspiration behind this striking body of work?

The body of work is based on and inspired by Persian miniatures from the Safavid (1501 – 1736) epochs. Our miniatures are influenced by Eastern culture, especially China through the Silk Road. As in the original miniature paintings, my subjects are reflective of the prevailing aesthetics – male and female – of their respective eras. The Cheeky Safavids – as I refer to them – with their long flowing robes, ornate headdresses, amorous glances and languid poses bring to mind both the fabled lovers of Persian lore and the splendour of Safavid Persia at its zenith.

Cheeky Safavids series in Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) in Qatar

The refreshing pop of colour in your work is reminiscent of the Andy Warhol era. How did you decide to combine these techniques with traditional Iranian history?

With playful and symbolic use of colour and choice of subjects, marks the stark contrast between the eras in Iranian history. Employing a Warhol-esque pop-art approach, I use bright, vibrant colours to bring to life the opulence, languor and grandeur of Safavid Isfahan. Whereas in the case of miniature portraits, there are darker, murkier and richer tones; which effectively provide the viewer with a glimpse into the pitiful days of a decadent and degenerate society on the verge of a cultural revolution.

Untitled, Cheeky Safavids series

How would you like to depict contemporary Iran through your work?

Going beyond a modern depiction of these dynasties, I try to provide a reflection of contemporary Iran in the 21st Century. I was inspired by the West by ravenously consuming its pop culture in every shape and form; traditional Iranian mores, customs and daubed in bright, neon colours. I decided to do portraits to reflect on the current degradation of Iran’s heritage among the young generation, and leave them wondering about the cultural trajectory of a generation undeniably rooted in the East, yet ever looking westwards.

Untitled, Cheeky Safavids series

What’s one piece of advice you live by?

The success of the traditional artist comes when people can approach his art and find grace, pleasure and peace in it.

View Hojat’s full profile here.