Interview Nava Sabetimani
Born into a conventional family in Tehran-Iran, Nava Sabetimani, always had an interest in and inclination towards art which was generally not appreciated and was not considered a value at the time, so she was classically educated. She graduated in Agricultural sciences with an MSc. At the same time, she was refining her artistic vein. Then 5 years ago, she decided to take the leap and concentrate on her art. Ever since, she has been gaining in experience and growing dexterity and technicalities, It was only a year ago when she decided to concentrate on a single project, with teaching and anatomical drawing and held her first exhibition.
How is your experience as an artist in Iran?
Briefly, Art ends in self-censorship in an idea ideological country. As a result of Self-censorship, art or the substance of a work of art is separated from it and what remains is out of line with the original work and has no Identity. Gradually, the artist becomes isolated and frustrated, as I have experienced it myself. At the same time, such restrictions have surprisingly contributed to the development of great artists, who have creatively managed to detour them and go along. Some other really brilliant artist compatriots of mine have had to immigrate to other countries to free themselves from such unfear restrictions. From now on, I have to censor myself because Big Brother is watching me!
How do you describe your work to somebody who has never seen it?
Because of my deep interest in many fields of art, I am currently learning and researching in a number of artistic fields. briefly, one of my main projects, called the struggle for lollipop, deals with human’s greed for the absurd. Another project of mine is concerned with the relationship between women and men, in fact, the gap that the society opens and widens between girls and boys from the very childhood. I have tried, by means of art, to express my opposition to this unjustified restrictions, although because of self-censorship, I can exhibit only some of them, having censored, the ones that I am allowed to exhibit.
Do you think is good to denounce social issues through art?
Yes, I think that art and the society are interconnected. The artist can raise social awareness and waken the public to social problems by effectively criticizing some traditions and objecting to some conventions. A lot of artist country fellows of mine are criticizing the government's ideological approach to politics. Because of the distance that the government has created between Art and the society, the effect of this criticism is not currently very visible. Although, I think it will certainly come out in the long run.
What artists from your country or other places inspire you?
I am most strongly attracted to and inspired by the 15th and the 16th European artists with their exceptionally great talents and powerful and peculiar techniques to draw human anatomy. This, of course, comes from their profound understanding of human identity and their stunning insight into human mentality. In particular, I can refer to the Dutch artist Junas Suyderhooef, as one of the most influential examples. Generally, I can say I am most keenly interested in humanists, who have been recently making a growing contribution to the development of my skills and the realization of my ideas, although I was not much strongly influenced by any school of art early on.
Where do you set inspiration from and how do you start painting?
Typically, I am inspired by my obsessions, and I must say most often I am preoccupied with a spectrum of relationships that range from two individuals, two lovers, the public with the government to humans with their past and future life. Characteristically, I bring war and carpet designs into depicting such interactions. Generally, the original idea is too plain and featureless, then I generously take my time over developing it into a meaningful and thought-provoking work of art. In other words, it is a simple sketch to be built up into a gripping scene; an inseparable stage which, as I have read somewhere, forms the foundation of a decent work of art.
What do you believe is integral to the role of an artist?
The artist is supposed to be sensitive to, conscious of, and positively affected by the world around them. If an artist fails to provoke skepticism and create a question in the target viewer’s mind, he or she must probably look for another profession. In fact, an artist is expected to bring the regular intelligence, conventional training, and available facilities to the creation of a memorable and mind-blowing work of art, trying their best to be unaffected by prejudice, stereotypes, and egotism.
What would you change about the art world?
Today, there is a degree of generality and flexibility in the definition of art. However, sometimes, this generosity seems to be taken to unacceptable extremes. Art, which is supposed to waken the viewer to some global issues of injustice, inequity, discrimination, stereotype and falsehood, sometimes comes down to frivolity and facetiousness. A worthless work Which carries no message and inspires no noble emotion. The change for the better that I try to bring about is that, through my artistic work, I try to emphasize that it is time to see art in a new light.
What are you currently working on?
Currently, I am working on a project using pen and ink, titled “the struggle for the lollipop”. This is more of image creating than painting. Because the scope of art is fantastically broad, and at the same time, I'm into more than one field of art, I am finding it hard to concentrate on any single project. consequently, my projects are going along too slowly.
To finish off, I do not mind admitting that, despite the relatively long way that I have come in art, I never set myself up as an artist, although I am more than simply pleased that my work has attracted your attention which will certainly not fail to inspire me.