27 November, 2017 | Share Article
International cultural ambassadors leading the Iranian contemporary & modern art movement.
Iran’s tumultuous history and troubled relationship with the West has often overshadowed overt international recognition of the country’s wealth of culture and artistic innovation. Home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations, the culturally diverse nation of Iran has - in its recent history - been categorized by political isolation and Geo-political tension following the Islamic Revolution of 1979. This turbulent political journey has been the driving force behind one of the most innovative contemporary arts movements in modern history and we at CAMA are proud to be providing a platform for further global recognition with many of these works available on the our website.
Iran and the West
The country’s relationship with the West has been -over the past two decades - characterized by suspicions around its nuclear program, resulting in un-imposed sanctions and increased economic seclusion. In recent years, following over 15 years of negotiation, sanctions were lifted as Iran gave up their nuclear program, in turn taking steps to re-establish themselves as a country of rich cultural and artistic diversity. Having portrayed the Middle Eastern nation as a microcosm of violence and gloom, euro-centrism within the Western media has encouraged a widespread distrust of Iranian culture and consequentially a blunt ignorance of the impressive cultural offerings to found within the borders or Iran. With this in mind a new, forward thinking generation of contemporary artists are gaining momentum and recognition with a view to overhaul negative stereotypes and instead present a just reflection of Iran and it’s place in the global dynamic of the 21st century.
The Cyrus Cylinder dates back to 539 BC, when the Persian king Cyrus the
Great conquered Babylon. It's said to be the first human rights charter.
Iran Through Time
Iran has always been a pioneer in the development of civilization as it is today; through time it has been a hub of global innovation and a great number of Persian inventions are still used to this day. To name but a few Persian culture has offered us : human rights, modern medicine, the first postal service, the first teaching hospital, anesthesia, cesarean, the first agriculture system and wine as well as certain instruments, batteries, Valentines (day of love) weight, money and measurement. In fact the history of the first people in Persia goes back some to 30,000 years ago. With this in mind it would be naive to dismiss the impact on and transcendence into the weird and wonderful works to have come from Greater Persia over time.
UNTITLED (FROM THE TREE TRUNKS SERIES) by Sohrab Sepehri oil on canvas
Iran and Art
Iranian art first hit the international market when Christie's came to Dubai in 2005; an age-old connection between the super-rich and the Persian art world meant it was no surprise to see collectors express considerable interest in Iranian artists and artwork alike. Despite this, it was from early 2014 that news traveled concerning record breaking sales emerging from Tehran which saw auction sales exceed $5 million. The same “Tehran Art Sale” in 2015 saw 126 artworks sold with 46 works achieving well above estimate, creating a new record of $6.1 million. In the interim, we have seen this trend continue with auction sales in excess of $10 million in the same annual Tehran Art Sale in 2017 - even more fascinating considering that it only featured 80 items as opposed to the 120 artworks being sold from previous years. This is indicative of the well-established notion that despite limited supply there is an ever-increasing demand for Iranian artwork.
Year on year we see record breaking prices, with Sohrab Sepehri’s paintings achieving sales in excess of $2 million and individual Sepehri works being sold for over $850,000. With an abundance of bullish and positive momentum surrounding the Iranian art market it comes as no surprise to see total auction sales increasing by no less than 10% year on year since 2014. In recent years, numerous notable Western art collectors have acquired artworks at the auction, despite having to do so through their local proxies. Geo-political restrictions and a banking network that is not yet fully connected to the international system has made it supremely difficult to break into the incredibly robust and ever thriving Iranian art market, until now of course.
Untitled by Parviz Kalantari mixed media on canvas
Accessing Art Market
By utilizing CAMA Galleries’ service everyone is able to purchase artwork both via our website as well as our soon to be launched Gallery Space in London. With ease, one can pick and choose which Persian artists to follow, like, share and refer to a friend; with over 300 artworks and 70 artists at your fingertips along with unparalleled market insight only a click away.
A Fast-Growing Market
Things are certainly looking more than bright for the Persian Art market with auctions getting bigger and more substantive each year. Nevertheless it is the constant rise of value that signals the recuperation of the global market as a whole, curators and analysts are saying. Regardless of whether international sanctions or the US-imposed travel ban gets lifted or not, the demand for this luxuriously renowned art market is certainly on the rise and with no intentions of slowing down. In 2009, cross-generational Iranian expatriates flocked to the Chelsea Art museum, New York for the first Iranian group show to be held in the US since the revolution in 1979 – after 30 years of underwhelming Iranian international recognition this was a seminal event. It was from this point onwards that global sales started to rise and records started to be broken as Iran was once again showcased to the world. Eight years on In 2017, artwork from multiple Iranian artists is still making strong appearances in galleries and festivals in Toronto, Brussels, Houston, Copenhagen, London, New York and Paris to name but a few culminating in the recent October 2017 Farhad Moshiri show at the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh. In recent years with the expected removal of sanctions enforced on Iran by the West, art has become increasingly valued as a form of investment among prominent members of the Iranian business community, forcing prices upwards. This being said, due to both artistic merit and limited supply Iranian art is considered both a valued and treasured asset by collectors in other parts of the globe. Every May, numerous celebrities, collectors and prominent members of the Iranian government gather in the luxurious Parsian Azadi Hotel in Tehran looking to buy some of the finest pieces of Iranian art; an event that has become synonymous with cultural and monetary prestige. With this in mind CAMA Gallery was established to ensure the Persian arts market is not simply limited to Iran and is accessible through our expert advisors and consultants.
Sleep Fragile Flowe by Farhad Moshiri mixed media on canvas, 2003
Despite consistent record breaking from Iran and notwithstanding the fact Persian artworks are on the rise, they are still priced modest compared to their western counterparts - for relatively smaller amounts of money, one can build a significant collection of modern and contemporary Iranian art. Herein lies not just ample benefits in respect to the variety one can acquire but the potential to accumulate a vast and diverse collection of works that by market standards are only set to rise in value. Relative to monetary expense, it would take one 10-20 years to accumulate a vast and diverse portfolio of Western modern and contemporary art, with Iranian contemporary one can achieve the same for considerably less, in just 2-3, positioning oneself in an asset strong position for years to come. Until now, Persian artwork has been seen as a smart financial investment as well as a way to tap into ones cultural heritage. The Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran is no stranger to international master art and has a treasure of original works (the largest collection by monetary value outside of Europe and the US) which was preserved pre-revolution. These master works include Jackson Pollock, Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol, Edward Munch, Rene Magritte, Monet, Picasso and mark Rothko to name but a few.
Blue dance by Mohammad Ehsai oil on canvas, 2014
Iranian Art Market
Iranian Artists and dealers are making their presence felt internationally especially at Art Basel Hong Kong and Art Dubai this year against the backdrop of US president Donald Trump’s travel ban targeting mainly Muslim countries – including Iran. This has in fact drawn further interest to the Iranian art market as people want what they can’t have and this has always been the nature of human psychology. Asia is becoming an increasingly important market for Iranian Art not only due to cultural and historical Silk Road bi-partisanship but due to increased interest in Iranian industry from heavyweight Asian investors – as Iran opens up Asian interest will continue to increase in it’s yet unspoilt investment opportunities and of course it’s art. This of course makes sense, a long and fruitful history between Iran and the West has existed for many years and Asian influence in medieval Persian ceramics can be seen centuries ago. Aside from Asian desire for Iranian art, a large part of the market is driven by strong demand from Arab collectors and a synonymy within high class Arab culture that places high class taste with Iranian cultural style. Collectors purchase art that they deem aesthetically pleasing and it is a reflection of one’s desires to exhibit work that one finds captivating. Wealthy Middle Easterners, in an age when the super-rich buy expensive cars by default find solace in being able to demonstrate style and class through their artistic taste. More broadly, BRIC countries (Brasil, Russia, India and China) are showing overwhelming demand for Iranian art and in recent years prominent dealers in these parts of the world have started taking note of the tracks the Persian art market has started to make.
Snow White series by Abbas Kiarostami photoprint on canvas, 2012
Contemporary Iranian Art
Contemporary Iranian art carries at its core a desire to express social status and is an inherent reflection of cultural heritage and legitimacy. Year on year the number of individuals collecting contemporary art globally is increasing in a market driven by an overwhelming demand for the aforementioned notions of authenticity by those at the top end of the wealth spectrum; art possesses social and emotional connectivity whilst maintaining a true monetary value. Following the crash of 2008, scores of wealthy, well-respected individuals were driven to the edge of financial ruin only to have been saved by the most captivating hedging tool in existence: art. An incredibly low correlation to the banking system and the housing market means art does not get caught up in global boom-bust cycles and sustains itself when traditional areas of investment can now. Those fortunate enough to have purchased art prior to financial crashes have flourished where others have stumbled.
With a restrictive and notoriously difficult bureaucratic system Iranian contemporary art has been for many years limited to those with the wealth and political capacity to access it. Following 2 years of administrative agreement and negotiation, CAMA Gallery has emerged to provide a platform that not only provides Iranian artists opportunities in the West but for Western collectors to access works never before seen in the Western world. Since 2000, Western audiences have caught glimpses of work produced within the borders or Iran with limited consistency and a tendency to be out-priced by those with bigger financial clout – until now. CAMA Gallery endeavors to offer the widest selection of artists with over 400 separate artworks available online at any one moment. Each work comes with full provenance, authentication and certification as well as fast shipping and holistic advice from start to finish. As demonstrated in this brochure, there are multiple complex and intricate driving factors supporting and propelling the Iranian art market. In establishing CAMA we have furthered the driving factors whilst removing the complexity and for the first time ever Europe has direct access to the heart of Iran.
Enigma XXV by Aydin Aghdashloo gouache and gold leaf on cardboard, 2011
CAMA Gallery aims to revolutionist the art industry in Iran and the Middle East. CAMA showcases art from all genres online and in physical galleries, offering artists exposure and global recognition for their artwork. Online public relation via CAMA online magazine will keep artists, new and old, updated with global trends whilst also offering insight into this new and exciting marketplace. Offering full transparency and accessibility of artwork on an international scale is CAMA’s core objective which we pride ourselves on. Exposure to western marketplaces opens a legitimate outlet for Middle Eastern artists looking to sell to new worldwide markets. Western collectors now have full exposure to the Middle Eastern art scene thanks to CAMA’s strong connections in both the Middle East and Western countries, whilst using the World Wide Web as its catalyst, CAMA endeavors to prove that art knows no boundaries, art knows no borders and art is everywhere.
Our vision is to build a global brand, built purely on the love of art. Our core belief is that artists should receive maximum recognition for their contributions to the world of Arts and culture. CAMA wishes to have as much artwork showcased globally to be appreciated and indulged by those who were otherwise unaware of the beauty and talent that Iran has to offer Creating a turnkey solution for artists, enthusiasts, collectors and dealers by offering direct access to genuine sought after artwork is what the art market needs. When people think of Middle Eastern art, CAMA Gallery will be the best option. CAMA is the leading authority in its region and have Western recognition. By being at the forefront of the Persian arts market allows us to gain the trust and long term commitment of not just master artists but professional and highly talented contemporary artists too. Art is the purest form of expression, a picture is worth a thousand words, CAMA Gallery will provide the canvas, now express yourself!
Enigma XXV by Aydin Aghdashloo gouache and gold leaf on cardboard, 2011
To first paint the picture, Mona Khoshegbal was born in Tehran in 1979. As a painter, illustrator of children’s books, instructor of art, curator, art manager, gallery manager, chief editor at “Rozane Honor Visual Magazine” and founder of the Naghayesh Artistic Group. Mona has held more than 100 exhibitions for various artists and has also had two solo and several group exhibitions herself in different galleries. Mona is an official member of the Visual Arts Association Having illustrated several collections of children’s books in Iran and abroad, Mona has also published several academic articles in The Economy of Art as well as participation and performances in Iran’s national radio and the economic press. Mona’s passion is to display the principles, beliefs and goals of CAMA Gallery with a specialized approach to her artistic infrastructure and means of captivating the senses of those who have attended one of her many exhibitions. Mona has extensive connections in Iran’s art market which has offered the foundation to work with the most sought after contemporary Iranian artists as well as having formidable associations with Iranian museums and classical artworks. Mona has showcased such classical artworks from the likes of Sohrab Sepehri, Bahman Mohasses, Pilaram, Zenderoudi, and Kalantari to name but a few. Mona has strong and established familiarity with professional artists and incredibly talented teenagers with the aim of introducing and representing valuable Iranian art and mysterious artistic works with Iranian technique and conditions. Mona’s sole aim is to raise the awareness and open the minds of art buyer and collectors, to help CAMA gallery in cultural and artistic fields outside the borders of Iran as well as on the ground in Iran as she has done for the past two decades. Apart from her successful sales achievements, connections with universities, art centers, top masters and superior artists, Mona’s influence is also transcendent in the International sales department through providing insight and perspective in seminars, Biennials, specialized meetings, exhibitions and events. All of which are among the many contributions of Mona Khosheghbal as CAMA Galleries Curator. By benefiting from her strategies and guidelines, we are able to present Iranian art all throughout the world in the most professional way by taking positive actions regarding Iranian artists.