Born in 1957, Iran, Shahram Karimi grew up in Shiraz. He is a self made artist who has been successful both in his own country and in the West. Karimi’s works have been exhibited in numerous countries ranging from Iran, Turkey, Germany, US, and Switzerland to name a few.
Shahram Karimi’s paintings portray the dilemma of the contemporary bicultural Iranian who seeks his historical and personal identity by wedding his personal past with contemporary form. Each one of Karimi’s paintings relates a fragment of his memories and national history, each a piece of his personal past. People, flowers, the ambience of an Iranian village stranded on his canvas bespeak of the past simplicity of Iran and yet in the remote corners of the same piece we often come across the depiction of a real historical event blended into the weaves of the artist’s canvas. Thus does the painter strive to unfold the dust of oblivion from his own memory and unveil the identity of the contemporary Iranian lost in a world of a much loved simple past and a fast tracking contemporary present that bears no relationship with the world of his childhood. This is where Karimi realizes the need for elements from his Iranian background and this is where he turns to Iranian poetry to thread it through his works and thereby to leave its mark.
The writings in his works are hard to read and are in fact only threads that rise out of the painting to join its various corners together and to leave the reader with the unforgettable remembrance of where it all stemmed from: the Persian poem that Iranians take such pride in and which to them is the single indivisible cultural element they all embrace. And yet the painter goes even further: the separate frames of memory he leaves in various corners of his work rise from his personal conscious and unconscious.
Karimi’s misty background greys and blues force the viewer to witness how what we see as memory still lives on in us to control, influence and shape our present. Shahram Karimi is presently living and working in Germany and the United States.