The University of Iowa
Hamid Rahmanian
Visual Art

Hamid Rahmanian & The Shahnameh Project Lecture

Monday, April 2, 2018, 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm

Since the late 1980s, New York–based Iranian filmmaker and graphic artist Hamid Rahmanian has combined his love of traditional Persian art forms with modern technology to create new works of art that visually bridge the gaps of East and West. As a story-teller, his works have focused on people and issues that are rarely covered in the mainstream media, offering audiences new perspectives and intimate glimpses into otherwise little known worlds. Rahmanian will speak about his work, and the Shahnameh Project in particular, as part of Hancher Auditorium's Embracing Complexity project, an initiative which seeks to build textured knowledge of Islamic cultures, while creating a greater sense of empathy for the experiences of peoples of diverse racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.

The Persian epic, Shahnameh, is one of the most important literary works of Iran. Written over 1,000 years ago by the poet Ferdowsi, the piece is just one example of Iran's rich and diverse culture. Rahmanian's goal in taking on this project was to present a more holistic view of Middle Eastern cultures, particularly that of Iran, to wider audiences by presenting stories and aspects of Shahnameh in different media, which they have titled “The Shahnameh Project”. The first of this project, Shahnameh: The Epic of the Persian Kings, a 600-page illustrated new translation and adaptation and published in 2013 by Quantuck Lane Press/WW Norton, is now in its 4th printing. The second is an elaborate pop-up book released in Fall 2016 by Fantagraphics Books. Feathers of Fire: A Persian Epic, the shadow play, is the third part of “The Shahnameh Project,” which will be presented at Hancher Auditorium on April 4th.