Marvels of Things Created and Miraculous Aspects of Things Existing by Nasim Davari at Aaran Gallery

Untitled, 2014 Oil on canvas, 95x155 cm Courtesy of Aaran Gallery, Tehran

Untitled, 2014
Oil on canvas, 95×155 cm
Courtesy of Aaran Gallery, Tehran


Opening; 5th September 2014


Nasim Davari defies our aesthetic conventions. She continues her interest in hybrid forms, and elicits a sense of wonder in her mysterious creations. For the viewer it is the ultimate unknown, for artist it is her personal encyclopaedia, her cosmology*, her Ajayeb Nameh.

Her meta-mythical fantasia is an unconscious world, an extraordinary plenitude of disorienting details. All these vivid images and impossible juxtapositions and reveries are part of her fantasia. A world hard to adjust to but once first shock waves are absorbed and the viewer finds a new interpretation, then the bizarreness no longer appears all that unusual.

Following in footsteps of Abu Yahaya Zakariya Qazwini*, the 13thcentury Persian intelligentsia; Geographer, Astronomer and extraordinary writer, who created the immensely popular “Marvels of Creatures and the Strange Things Existing”, Davari pictures the perplexing creatures that in her case reside in her own subconscious. In Qazwini’s classification there are seven types of living creatures – man, jinn, animals used for riding, animals that graze, beasts, birds and insects – and creatures that look strange or are hybrids. Man has the highest rank in the order of God’s creation. However Davari obliterates the “man” altogether; the only signs of human are the eyes of her hybrid creatures.

Each painting is an independent work but they are all linked with threads and colours and composition, allowing the viewer to glide in this incredible world. The threads are of course metaphor for the bondages and limitations that are part of everyday life. The fauna and flora are a new addition to the work, perhaps a reference to age old tradition of floral adornment in Persian decorative arts, so are the bright and pure jewels like background colourings which have their roots in Persian Miniature paintings.

It’s best not to try and explain this magical world but to float in the wonder that she creates. Stepping away from these paintings the world is once again factual and mundane.

*Cosmology; Muslim cosmography had its origins in the Greek cosmographical literature and was especially influenced by the works of Aristotle, but the first Muslim cosmographical works were not written until the twelfth century.

*Abu Yahya Zakariya’ ibn Muhammad al-Qazwini or Zakariya Qazvini ‎(1203–1283) creator of “Marvels of Creatures and the Strange Things Existing”. Qazwini also wrote a futuristic proto-science fiction titled “Awaj bin Anfaq” which is about a man who travelled to Earth from a distant planet.


Untitled, 2014 Oil on canvas, 103x163 cm Courtesy of Aaran Gallery, Tehran

Untitled, 2014
Oil on canvas, 103×163 cm
Courtesy of Aaran Gallery, Tehran


Nasim Davari
Nasim Davari was born in Iran in 1981. She studied graphic design at Moasser College and painting at the prestigious Tehran University of Art and graduated in 2003. She later on went back to university and studied “Visual arts” with special emphasize on print making in University of Banglore in India and graduated in 2009.
Since then she has held three solo exhibitions in Tehran, the last of which has been extremely successful both in critical and commercial sense. Her first two solo exhibitions were held at the Sales Gallery Tehran, in 2005 and at the Arte Gallery Tehran, 2004.

She has experimented in video and musical performances as well as etching. Davari published three illustrated children’s books between 2004-2006 and directed over twenty short animations for Iranian TV. She currently works and lives in city of Rasht in Iran.


Untitled, 2014 Oil on canvas, 90x90 cm Courtesy of Aaran Gallery, Tehran

Untitled, 2014
Oil on canvas, 90×90 cm
Courtesy of Aaran Gallery, Tehran


About Aaran Gallery
Founded by Rana and Nazila Noebashari and situated in heart of Tehran, Aaran Gallery opened in 2008. The main focus of the Gallery is young Contemporary Iranian Artists. The gallery aims to create a forum for the promotion of Iranian contemporary artists, to establish a centre for promotion of artistic exchanges between South-West Asia, North Africa and South-East Asian countries, to encourage dialogue between artists, critics, public and collectors and to sponsor original artistic ideas and projects.


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