Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian

Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian / Iran, b.1924 / Lightning for Neda 2009 / Mirror mosaic, reverse-glass painting, plaster on wood / 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 / QAGOMA Photography / © The artist

In Lightning for Neda over 4000 mirror shards in each panel activate myriad patterns. Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian's mirror mosaic draws on an Iranian decorative technique known as aineh-kari, which uses pieces of broken mirror and dates back to the sixteenth century. The six sides of the hexagon, which provide the underlying structure, are expanded and elaborately rendered. The hexagon is an important shape within Islamic geometry, and also has mystical connotations, representing the six directions (up, down, forward, backward, left, right) as well as the six virtues of generosity, self-discipline, patience, determination, insight and compassion. The work's title pays homage to Neda Agha Soltan, a 27-year-old Iranian woman killed in the streets of Tehran during protests that followed the 12 June 2009 presidential elections.

Farmanfarmaian's creative practice is imbued with the aesthetics of her Iranian culture. Inspired by its architecture, the traditions of Islamic geometry and pattern, and by techniques such as reverse glass painting, mirror mosaic and relief sculpture, Farmanfarmaian has revived and adapted these forms to create startlingly original works.