Iranian Artist Mania Akbari at Xerxes Fine Arts

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Iranian Artist Mania Akbari at Xerxes Fine Arts
Mania Akbari, Mania Devastation. © Mania Akbari, Courtesy Xerxes Fine Arts.

LONDON.- Xerxes Fine Arts holds the first solo show, outside of the Persian Gulf, of the renowned Iranian film maker, actress and artist Mania Akbari. The Many Faces of Eve, is an exhibition of two series of photographic works on canvas by Akbari which explore feminism and the role of women in post-Revolutionary Iranian society and the rest of the world. Individual and social concerns about femininity, love, guilt, beauty, parenthood and independence are all represented in the works.

The first series of portraits entitled MANIA DEVASTATION are strikingly honest depictions of Akbari herself, documenting the surgical scars from her recent battle against breast cancer. The intimate depictions of the artist’s post-surgery body, superimposed by visually striking Iranian calligraphy, are shockingly frank and challenge the notion of the ideal female form.

MANDANA is the second series in the exhibition and depicts a young Iranian girl called Mandana in varying female roles; the sensuous libertine, the submissive bride and the anonymous chador-clad woman are all represented. The decision to make Mandana, who has Down’s syndrome, the subject of the portraits hints at Akbari’s belief that women have been historically marginalised, subjugated and misunderstood by men.

Born in Tehran in 1974, Akbari uses large scale photography, film and video as media to create visually stunning art with deeply resonating messages on how women are treated and the female role in society.

Akbari is perhaps best known for her role in Abbas Kiarostami’s Ten, a film based on Kiarostami’s interpretation of Akbari’s life. In 2004 Akbari directed, co-wrote and co-produced 20 Fingers which won the prize at the Venice Film Festival. In 2006 Akbari was diagnosed with breast cancer and documented her battle against the disease in the docu-film 10+4 which revolves around the filmmaker’s uncertainty as to whether she would live to finish the film.

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