Modernizing the Persian Masterpiece, Shahnameh: A Talk with Artist Hamid Rahmanian

Lecture abstract:
Mr. Rahmanian will give a talk on the artistic process of transforming the 10th-century epic poem Shahnameh by the poet Ferdowsi, into a modern classic.  For the past 10 years, Rahmanian has worked on several iterations of his Shahnameh Project, including the 600-page illustrated adapted translation, an audio book, pop-up book and shadow theater production. He draws on the visual traditions of the region that span 500 years. Viewing himself as a cultural activist, he uses his work to inspire and inform the world around him of the rich cultural contributions Iran has made.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Jack Poole Hall (2nd Floor), Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre, 6163 University Blvd

Open to the public.

Speaker bio:
Hamid Rahmanian is a 2014 John Guggenheim Fellow. His work centers on film and graphic arts. His work has been exhibited in international competitions and publications. His narrative and documentary films have premiered at Venice, Sundance, Toronto, Tribeca, and IDFA film festivals. He has won numerous international awards and his films have been televised on international networks, including PBS, Sundance Channel, IFC, Channel 4, BBC, DR2, and Al Jazeera. Mr. Rahmanian undertook the immense task of illustrating and commissioning a new translation and adaptation of the tenth-century Persian epic poem Shahnameh by Ferdowsi, entitled SHAHNAMEH: THE EPIC OF THE PERSIAN KINGS. This best-selling 600-page art book, which the Wall Street Journal lauded as a “masterpiece,” was published by the Quantuck Lane Press in 2013.  The 2nd Edition (2017) is currently published by Liveright Publishing.   His artwork from the book has been exhibited and purchased by several museums.  In 2014, Rahmanian shifted his focus to theater arts, working with shadows and digital media.  To date he has created three theater pieces: ZAHHAK THE LEGEND OF THE SERPENT KING (2014), MINA’S DREAM (2016, Commissioned by the Onassis Foundation) and FEATHERS OF FIRE (2016) which premiered at Brooklyn Academy of Music and is currently touring around the world.  In 2017, he released an immersive audiobook version of SHAHNAMEH: THE EPIC OF THE PERSIAN KINGS, with an introduction by Frances Ford Coppola.  He recently completed a pop up book, entitled, ZAHAAK: THE LEGEND OF THE SERPENT KING, a beautifully designed and engineered book adapted from the Shahnameh, which Le Monde called “A tour de France of animated books.” The book will be released in 2018 through Fantagraphics Books. Presently, Rahmanian has been commissioned by the Silk Road Ensemble to create a multimedia video animation for their upcoming project, HEROS, which will premiere in 2019.