In Drawing Paradise on the ‘Axis of Evil‘ artist Emily Johns exhibits the poetic and topical lino-cut and watercolour results of two peace delegation visits to Iran, one in 2006 and the other 2013.
Johns is also co-editor of the pacifist magazine Peace News a magazine with a history dating back to its first publication in 1936. In this week’s show she explains how the trips were arranged and what they entailed and gives the back story of some of the works in her current solo exhibition.
Johns is showing in her home town at Hastings Art Forum and is accompanied by a programme of important Iranian film and live poetry at the Hastings Art Forum, St
Leonards on Sea, July 4-16th July.
The works range from detailed lino-cuts to quickly made pencil and water colour sketches done during her road trips through Iran, a trip whose itinerary was steered by an intense series of meetings with community groups, youth and clergy arranged for the peace delegation trip.
What’s interesting about John’s work, aside from the obvious style and delivery, is her choice subject matter, and the dream-like quality of certain works. Johns uses her imagination freely to interpret the meaning behind the stories and give them physical form. Her exhibition of lino prints about the history of British/Iranian relations over the last century involve the export of tobacco, the wearing of tutus, Western coups in the Middle East and the use of chemical weapons.
In this week’s episode we discuss with Johns her art work, her travels and writing and hear the most interesting stories uncovered by her in her research, the most interesting of which is the story of the sufragette Mrs Jahangir who threw herself in front of the Shah’s carriage, soon before Persia turned over to a constitutional monarchy, and of which nothing more is known.