If possible, please introduce yourself and explain your artistic background.
I am Soroor Salehinejad. I was born on 23 May 1981 in Karaj city. I learned drawing from Master Siavash Mehviseh during high school. This was the only artistic education I received from a master of art and I learned the rest of the techniques experimentally. Despite my great interest in painting and sculpture, due to the intellectual conditions of that time, I did not go to art school and finished high school in experimental sciences. At university, I chose “French Language and Literature” and at the same time worked as a cartoonist in student and local publications in Karaj. I also devoted myself to experimental learning of painting in oil, watercolour and composite techniques. In 2012, when my twins were two years old, I held my first solo exhibition at Kamal al-Din Behzad Gallery and since then my professional and continuous activity began. So far, I have held three solo exhibitions, the fourth of which will hopefully come to fruition this year, and I have participated in ten group exhibitions. I also collaborated in making the background of a feature-length animation about the biography of George Gurdjieff, a famous mystic, from Armenia, and I have won awards in two international calls. In these years, I have also taught creative art to children and learned carpet design from Master Mohammad Niyasti to benefit from the principles of illumination and tilework and learn Iranian painting forms.
Explain us about this collection of your artworks.
This collection, since it was being made for children, naturally had to have more kindness and gentleness in it and also had to avoid drawing violent scenes in these works. Of course, as I explained, the faces of the Arsacid kings engraved on the coins were also not drawn in the usual way of being artificial and emotionless and they had depicted themselves with a smile and natural facial features. Therefore, a good background for working for children had been created a thousand and one years ago, which I also continued.
Our work is about research on crises and their impact on hunger. What connection do you see between war and hunger?
War certainly brings hunger with it. Lack of food and nutrition can be considered one of the first effects of war, but I also consider other kinds of hunger imposed on humans due to war and I want to draw your attention to them. Hunger for peace, hunger for culture, hunger for happiness, hunger for education, hunger for security, hunger for art and so on.
Many of these hunger are not seen or understood in their own time, but their impact will appear in the future. A person who spends his childhood in war will not have a childhood or at least not enough of a childhood… He grows up fast and remains hungry for childhood. And its destructive effects will manifest in his future life without him knowing sometimes. And so are the other hungers that I mentioned to you. Many of our behaviors, conservatism, aggressions, fears and so on are derived from these various past hungers.
But about art, in war people have less opportunity to engage in art. Sometimes they are happy just to have survived. In war, many talented people will not have the opportunity to pursue art and this will create a society hungry for art… Of course, this society is not eager for art because due to the involvement with war and the priority of defending themselves, they do not have the opportunity to understand and receive art, but they are wounded by the lack of art that is the calmer of society and individual and perhaps they need years of special and comprehensive treatment and attention to heal their wounds.
And the final question, today the war in Ukraine has become one of the reasons for the tension in food prices in the world. The budget of the global humanitarian organizations is small and suitable for special or small events, but today the crises in Africa, Yemen or Afghanistan after the arrival of the Taliban involve millions of people and for an indefinite period. Providing aid was difficult in normal circumstances and it became harder with inflation. But the pain of these millions of people and the twist of fate of their lives does not seem to be very important for the warmongering political leaders. What is your view on their policies?