Tehran, Esfahan, Kashan – a road trip in picture

The road connecting Tehran to Esfahan cuts through the arid Dasht-e Kavir. We drive for hours in silence absorbing its raw beauty. The contrast on entering Esfahan is enormous. The former capital under the Safavids instantly seduces with its delicate poetic charm, rich architectural heritage and leafy boulevards. As does neighbouring Kashan, the kings’ vacation spot, where we stop for lunch enjoying an unforgettable meal of tah-cheen, prepared... Read More

Shubbak and creativity in the Arab world

Can the arts be harnessed to forge new identities for nations and at the same time open up dialogue on race, identity and religion? This, the power of creativity, was at the heart of Dubai Next, an interesting debate held at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London. Hosted by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority and to coincide with Shubbak, the biennial festival of contemporary Arab culture in London, the initiative is reviewing the role of... Read More

Light from the Middle East

A new exhibition has opened in London that sets out to remedy the under-representation of Middle Eastern photography in UK collections. Light from the Middle East: New Photography features more than 90 works by some of the most exciting artists from the region. This is an intriguing exhibition that reveals the creative responses to the social challenges and political upheavals that have shaped the Middle East over the past 20 years. The photographs... Read More

Book review: Different Sames

Contemporary Iranian artists reflect the complexities of this ancient land Iran has a rich artistic and cultural narrative fused with a turbulent political history past and present. It is therefore not surprising that contemporary Iranian artists are eager to form their own visual language. Thanks to recent exhibitions held in London, New York and the UAE, an array of publications and a thriving market for Iranian art, contemporary artists in... Read More