Echoes in Blue, an exhibition of contemporary paintings by 10 Iranian artists, will be on display from Saturday, Oct. 16 through Nov. 14 at the James Gray Gallery in Santa Monica.

An opening reception is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 16 at the gallery at Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave. D4, Santa Monica.

A gallery spokesperson says the exhibit works provide a “vibrant and thought-provoking view” of life within the boundaries of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The show is curated by Iranian-born Homa Taraji, in association with Dr. Alireza Sami Azar, former director of Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art and a consultant to Christie’s.

Though the Iranian government requires that artists refrain from topics like religion and politics, Echoes in Blue aims to reflect the life struggles that exist in the long-lasting revolutionary state, the gallery spokesperson explains. The title is from a poem by an Iranian female poet Forough Farrokhzad (1935-1967) in which she reminisces about the echoes of blue in Isfahan, an historic Iranian city with hundreds of buildings and mosques built primarily in blue tile. The poem, like the exhibition, is meant to be a reflection of Iranian culture.

“The timing is right to bring contemporary Iranian art to the attention of an international audience to demonstrate that despite the repression of women and art, Iranian artists of both genders have flourished.” said Taraji.

Since 2007, the field of Iranian modern and contemporary art has grown exponentially on the international art market, as Iranian artists have dominated auctions organized by leading auction houses such as Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Bonhams, selling at record highs, Taraji notes. This has propelled Iranian artists to an international level and collecting their art is now considered a very attractive investment, the curator added.

Artists featured in Echoes in Blue include Hossein Khosrojerdi, who portrays characters with no identity and struggling to maintain their Persian identity;

Amirhossein Zanajni, who depicts the ruins of once spectacular historical buildings that are symbols of Iranian heritage; and

Ahmad Morshedloo, who captures ordinary people in what seems to be an eternal “waiting” mode.

A number of other abstract and modern pieces are included in this exhibition.

Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday noon to 5 p.m., and Mondays by appointment. For more information on the exhibit (310) 489-2417.

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