15 12 / 2011

Dubai-based Iranian artist Arezu on her new exhibition, Trespassing, at Dubai’s XVA Gallery

First things first. Why do you only go by your first name?

I find first names to be very intimate and personal and that’s what my work is all about.

You were born in Iran. How does that affect your work?

It all started with painting. I started painting when I was 19 and I was living in Iran. I joined Taha Behbahani’s painting class; he is a world renowned surreal painter and sculptor. Some years after I took a photography course at University, and since then I haven’t been able to put my camera down.

 How would you describe your work?

 I work with elements of obscurity and ambiguity. I would like to leave the audience with hidden stories, un-answered questions and deep thoughts.

 Do people ever react negatively?

I don’t expect people to always agree with me; I am not looking for confirmation. Instead I would like to bring new perspectives of looking at life, and give enough space to people to find their own stories in my work.

 Crows and ravens are generally associated with death. Where does this element of darkness come from?

The crows in my work are a metaphor for freedom and anonymity.  I like working with paradoxes. I’m showing two separate sets of images in the exhibition and one is the opposite of the other.

You talk about freedom and space yet the characters within your portraits seem trapped. An interesting contradiction…

I choose to tell stories with something that is not there. If everything I want to say already exists in the picture, then there is no space for the viewer to explore.

From Dec 13, Tresspassing, XVA Gallery, DIFC, Dubai, Sun to Thur 11am to 7pm, Sat noon to 6pm, free. Tel: (04) 3585117. xvagallery.com

Look out for Arezu in our The Future Of Dubai Art feature in the upcoming January issue of What’s On