Restrictions on freedom of expression have resulted in unconventional and creative ways for Iranian visual artists to use imagery, symbolism and color to explore themes such as identity, politics, faith and gender roles.
Two art exhibitions – one in Los Angeles, the other in New York – have recently opened; one which dispels the misconceptions around Iranian culture, stereotypes and taboos, while the other offers a window into the lives of Iranian women. Both offer insight into how Iran has changed from the past to the present, and perhaps what the future might hold.
In a country where the law considers homosexuality, drug-related offenses and "insulting the prophet" crimes punishable by the death penalty, freedom of expression in Iran is limited for journalists, activists and artists. However, Iranian art is not all dark and archaic.