Mar 01 2009

Iranian Painter Iman Maleki

Published by at 10:12 am under Poetry Chaikhana Misc.

/ A Girl by the Window /

I’ve just been exploring the stunning paintings of Iman Maleki…

/ A Girl by the Window (detail) /

Yes, these are in fact paintings, not photographs.

/ A Tar Player /

Iman Maleki is a young Iranian artist, born in 1976 in Tehran. When he turned 15 he began to study under Iranian realist painter Morteza Katouzian. Iman Maleki has been painting professionally since the late 1990s.

Looking at these images for the first time, you play a game with yourself: It’s like staring at an optical illusion. One moment you’re convinced you’re looking at a photograph, then a switch is flipped in your brain, and you see a painting. But then you notice the fine filaments of each strand of hair, the delicate veins traced out beneath the skin, the caress of daylight upon a curving cheek, and you start to question again.

/ Omens of Hafez (detail) /

The realism of these paintings, to me, is just the beginning, an expression the artist’s craft — granted, masterful craft. It’s only when you are no longer impressed with the painting’s realism that you are finally free to notice the art. It’s not the photorealistic perfection I find so moving, it’s the humanity of the subjects.

/ Memory of That House /

A young woman studying.

/ Studying /

A secret meeting of musicians.

/ Composing Music Secretly /

These are real people glimpsed at quiet moments in the midst of multilayered lives.

/ Omens of Hafez /

We see jeans and wristwatches paired with headscarves.

/ Omens of Hafez (detail) /

Iman Maleki’s paintings remind us that politics, religion, cultural traditions, all the things we are told divide the many peoples of the world, don’t make us different at all. At most they add accents to our lives. The simple daily experiences of being a human being are understood by everyone.

/ Sisters and a Book /

There is a luminous, gentle honesty in Iman Maleki’s paintings — a true gift to the world.

For more information about Iman Maleki, his paintings, posters and books, see

9 responses so far

9 Responses to “Iranian Painter Iman Maleki”

  1. Sandeepon 02 Mar 2009 at 12:13 am

    Outstanding works…

  2. Elleon 02 Mar 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Extraordinary…I just wandered in here by accident…I will never forget the experience…thanks.

  3. fred paulon 08 Mar 2009 at 2:55 pm


  4. kirk criston 13 Mar 2009 at 12:52 pm

    not sence jim cromartie have i seen realism like this.

  5. Anahitaon 24 Mar 2009 at 9:47 am

    Astoundingly mesmerisingly beautiful, they just take your breath away !!!
    Thank you for introducing us to this traesure of Art.

  6. LISSET CIRIACOon 05 May 2009 at 2:55 pm


  7. gregg chadwickon 27 Jun 2009 at 10:22 am

    The pairing of Iman Maleki’s quietly subversive work and your words give background to the events of June 2009 in Iran.
    Thanks for the beauty that you have found.

  8. Vishalon 12 Jan 2010 at 4:58 am

    I have saw god, He is a painter. I can see his creativity.

  9. tinaon 27 Aug 2010 at 1:24 am

    We actually have a poster of Memory of that House,which we bought while travelling in Northern Iran. Oustanding work!

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