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Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian

Lightning for Neda 2009

Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian | Iran b. 1924 | Lightning for Neda 2009 | Mirror mosaic, reverse glass painting, plaster on wood | 6 panels: 300 x 200cm (each) | Commissioned for APT6 and the Queensland Art Gallery Collection. | The artist dedicates this work to the loving memory of her late husband Dr Abolbashar Farmanfarmaian | Purchased 2009. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian

Lightning for Neda 2009

Lightning for Neda 2009 is Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian’s most ambitious work to date. Essentially abstract, Lightning for Neda draws on the Islamic use of geometry to structure and develop complex architectural ornamentation. The characteristic mirror mosaic of Farmanfarmaian’s work is an Iranian decorative form known as aineh-kari. The technique dates back to the sixteenth century, when glass was imported from Europe and would often arrive broken. The work's intricate mirror mosaic and reverse-glass painting explore the geometric possibilities offered by the hexagon. Arab mathematicians of the ninth century added considerably to Greek and Indian scholarship, and Muslim craftspeople have long relied on this knowledge to produce the patterns embellishing the facades and walls of buildings.

In this work, the six sides of the hexagon provide an underlying structure and are expanded and elaborated on as a repeated motif. Additionally, the hexagon represents the six directions of motion (up, down, front, back, right, left) and the six virtues (generosity, self-discipline, patience, determination, insight, compassion). In each of the panels of Lightning for Neda, Farmanfarmaian has used over 4000 mirror shards to create myriad patterns across a sublime, glittering surface.