Art / Fine art and design / iran

Jordanian Artist a Success in Iran

Hiary at workJordan-based Hilda Hiary (b. Amman 1969) has been showing in Iran for over 3 years now to some acclaim both at the Ayyam Gallery as well as the Tehran Biennial in 2002 and 2005.


Tarabish – multi-media installation, 2006

Recent news is that she’s been selected for second place at the fabulously-titled International Resistance Art Festival, held in Tehran’s Saba Museum for the third time.

Not timorous, Hiary typically uses international newspaper clippings, set in themed explosions of colour that appear as noisy, dense tapestries of news and colour. Over the years her work has ranged from abstract expressionism to figurative, touching on themes such as gender and society. She also produces videos and  mixed media canvases featuring found objects such as hypodermic needles.

The International Resistance Art Festival, in which her work has been such a success, is hosted by the Visual Arts Association of Islamic Revolution and Holy Defense/Ravayat Cultural Foundation, who state on their website that the festival aims to spread “the culture of resistance” and the “values of the Islamic revolution” with a focus on a “culture of persistence in visual arts”:

Resistance means persistence on moral, cultural, humane, religious and spiritual values, means an everlasting perseverance, endurance, jihad, self- sacrifice and martyrdom, means persistence on piety, belief and good deed, means persistence on maintaining the path of prophets and messengers, means returning to divine nature of human being… means God is Unique.

Hiary demonstrates the scale of the pieces

Hiary demonstrates the scale of the pieces

Other winners were Iranian artist Karim Zarei in first place while fellow Iranian Muna Honarmand third, making Hilda the only woman to be selected as a winner and the only foreigner, however several Arab and other nationality artists did submit to show, and for the cash prize competition.

So what is it the Iranians love about Hiary’s work? The pieces submitted for the International Resistance Art Festival were not made specifically for the event itself, yet all her work displays the kind of sensitivity that is both searching, bold and willfully quirky. Hiary has a background in political study, below is her searching video Circles, and her piece Divided Middle East, which sold for USD 11,250 at Christie’s in 2011.

Painting, acrylic on canvas, 180 x 180. 2011

Divided Middle East, painting, acrylic on canvas, 180 x 180. 2011