Foreign Lands: Ali Banisadr’s world of wonder

While summer is celebrating its season again, I often feel the urge to spend most of my time outside. Sitting in a park or relaxing in the sun seems simply too tempting. Sometimes, however, when the heat just won’t fade, I break away from the fresh daylight and seek out the cooled air between closed doors. With the temperature rising in The Netherlands over the past weeks, I went to Het Noordbrabants Museum (a museum in Den Bosch, The Netherlands) and stumbled upon an amazing exhibition that blew my dull summer senses wide open.

by Jon Himoff

Foreign Lands by Ali Banisadr is a collection of paintings, all of them showing a world of wonder. In a museum that hosts a great number of very talented artists, this series makes you stop and turn. His paintings immediately draw you closer, at the same time wondering if they made more sense to you when you looked at them from a short distance. They are made up of colorful life. It is not possible to exactly describe what sort of life such a painting shows, for Banisadr’s art is the kind one needs to see for him- or herself. According to Banisadr, when he paints, he experiences and sees a sound. This phenomenon is called synesthesia, meaning the process in which a sense triggers another sense. In this case were the unique and miraculous figures in Banisadr’s paintings triggered by a sound of an inner rustle. He says he creates his art based on the sounds he hears during the process of painting.

The style in which he paints partly represents his Iranian heritage, partly the influence of great European artists such as Hieronimus Bosch and Paolo Veronese. Together they give way to a moving world made up of deep colors and beautiful figures. Moreover, the works of Banisadr seem to tap into deeper layers and emotions, connected to the feelings within ourselves as well as our reflection upon society. His painting Chaos and Awe, for example, “demonstrates the aptness and relevance of painting as a medium for expressing the uncertainty of our era” (Scala, 2018). The danger represented by the chaos of an unstable global order looms threatening over society and ignites fear in many of us, which is portrayed in this very Chaos and Awe. Whether that threat becomes true or whether it lives on mostly in our minds, remains to be seen. In the meantime, we were able to find understanding, comfort and unique beauty in the artworks of Ali Banisadr. If you ever get the chance, I recommend his exhibition heartily. Even if you’re just not that into art, your mind will be blown!

Rachelle Wildeboer Schut

Photograph by: Jon Himoff –
under creative commons –

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