Artworks that feature the diversity of several cultures are on display at the Jaycee Park Center for the Arts until July 29. The show is entitled, “The Twilight: Middle Eastern Art,” which celebrates Middle Eastern culture and was juried during a reception on July 10.
Exhibit curator Pouran Lashini said, “This show is different because the visual art power helps to show who we are with no political rhetoric. It is such a pleasure and an honor to serve as a curator for the celebration of the Diversity in Texas exhibition.”
The Jaycee Park for the Arts is under the umbrella of the Irving Art Association. “This exhibition serves to open a window into Middle Eastern visual artists who live in Texas to develop a collection of artistic visions,” Lashini said. “Our main goal is to celebrate different cultures as a new generation of immigrants come to Texas as artists, who live in a new home. ‘No matter where you go, your homeland will always be with you,’” Lashini explained.
“I would love to thank our webmaster Sharon Giles and the president of the Irving Art Association, Raquel Gregory. Also, special thanks go out to our graphist team Houman Mansori and Sue Ewing for assisting me through the exhibition,” Lashini said.
The jury (judges) was made up of Siemen Farhat, Mahmoud Nabi, and Lavanya Challa.
The selected works were Shermeen Sidiki’s “Tu Jhoom;” Neha Pathak’s “Radha-Krishna Raas Leela;” Fatima Biriski’s “Reproduction;” and Suedabeh Ewing’s “Emergence.” The winning artists received a cash prize.
“We have many great artists participating in this show. The name of the show is, ‘Twilight.’ I really love that. It reminds me of the sounds of twilight, like it is music. It is also the time of day when you can see the different changing colors outside, and in the artwork as well. We have people from so many different nationalities participating. They are from Pakistan, Lebanon, Iran, India, Turkey and we even have two American artists here,” said Lashini.
“When COVID first came about, visitors here were less and less. Now, more people are coming. They didn’t want to go to public places because of COVID. Now, this looks like an art gallery and is a place of nature and peace,” she said.
One of Lashini’s paintings is called, “Rotsam’s Horse Rakhsh!” which features a horse with a traditional Persian background, all done in shades of blue with a hint of yellow, was a popular draw.
“It is kind of made up by using the traditional Persian pattern which makes it more real. It makes it a little bit more becoming,” said Lashini.
Other artists started their art careers using different mediums and evolved into painting and photography.
“I am a miniaturist. I started when I was 13 or 14 years old. I also do calligraphy, which helps with brush strokes,” said artist Lynda Koshy. “When I'm working on something, I use the traditionalists. It’s like using something sort of new, embedding it into something traditional to make it my own.
“I have mixed media pieces here. Some are painted acrylic pieces that I applied with varnish, and then I applied a glaze on top. Then there are acrylic paints on top of that as well. After that, I put a glaze on top of the whole thing.
“Pablo Picasso has a Dachshund and did a lot of cubism. I also have two friends with the same breed of dog. I know both those dogs really well. So, I did an entire series on them, Koshy explained.
“I’ve also done a lot with eyes. I did a curtain with an eye, like windows to the soul. I did a tree frog and I just kind of made it really whimsical and fun. But this one I just cut into mixed media. I just played around with it. But I did it really soft with kind of an acrylic painting in the background. I wanted to make them look weathered. I actually outlined each piece after I did it, and I kind of wrapped it around the side. I just had fun with this one,” said Koshy.
She pointed to a painting done in hues of blue featuring a man wearing a surgical mask.
“This one I called Corona Blues. It's actually my cousin who lives in New York. I got a good photo and then I just painted it. He’s wearing a mask in the middle of the COVID scare,” she said.
Raquel Gregory, who is president of the Irving Art Association, gave a preview of art exhibits to come.
“We will have a show featuring our board members. We’ve never had a show like that. I have had two shows. In 2016, my show dealt with all the flowers outside here. It was called ‘Expressions of Life Exhibit.’ The flowers here are absolutely gorgeous. I’m waiting for the city to come to change the plants and flowers around for the summer. In 2020, I had a solo show called, ‘All Things Beautiful.’
“In September, we will have a show featuring animals that are owned by all the artists and members of the public that want to enter. The only exception is photography. We aren’t allowing photographs. We will have a photography show in February. Then, in October, we're going to have a small show for Veteran Art. I wander the halls of the Veterans Hospital in Lancaster because my husband, who passed away almost three years ago, served in the Air Force. We're also going to have all kinds of stuff related to Halloween from October 28th until the 30th. People have to wear a mask. It should be fun,” Gregory said.
To learn more about the Irving Art Association, visit https://irvingartassociation.org/.