TEHRAN – The 84th birthday of painter, illustrator and animator Ali-Akbar Sadeqi was celebrated on Monday at the Iranian Artists Forum.
His family, a number of his friends, fans and colleagues attended the celebration that began with a short speech by Iranian Artists Forum deputy director Asieh Mazinani.
“While paying tribute to all those people who have lost their lives over the past two years, we are here today once again to say hello to life,” She said.
“In this gathering, one of many memorable events organized by the Iranian Artists forum, we are celebrating the birthday of an artist who has taken Iranian art to new heights, and our knowledge to speak about his skills is simply inadequate. This is a man who injected a modern style into Iranian art, founding Iranian surrealism to remind us of our great heritage of art,” she added.
Afterwards, veteran graphic designer Ebrahim Haqiqi appeared on stage to talk about his lifelong friend.
“In the words of [poet Ahmad] Shamlu, Ali-Akbar Asdeqi and his contemporaries are ‘beautiful monsters’, from whom we have learned a lot,” he said.
“The diversity of his artworks is incredible, and we hope he and his contemporaries can be role models for all of us,” he added.
“Ali-Akbar Asdeqi has never considered himself a retired artist,” he noted, “There is no retirement from art; I cordially kiss his hands and those of his contemporaries, that is, ‘the beautiful monsters’.”
Sadeqi was also praised by his other close friends and colleagues, including cartoonist Ahmad Arabani and illustrator Ali Buzari, in speeches delivered at the celebration.
In addition, Mahmud Shalui, an advisor to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, also attended the celebration.
“After years, the flames of love are still flickering in Mr. Sadeqi’s life; something that I have seen less of in the present generation nowadays,” he said in his short speech.
Addressing the audience, Sadeqi said, “I really love you, my motherland and its people.”
“I always swear on the Persian Gulf; my friends exaggerated about me; I’m nothing but a man, a painter; I like all people from every religion and faith,” he added.
“I never draw the beautiful flowers anymore,” he said with a sigh. “I never draw the beautiful landscapes anymore; I draw the dreams of those children whose fathers have been martyred to achieve freedom for Iran.”
A retrospective of Sadeqi was organized by the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (TMCA) in January and February 2018.
A collection composed of his 200 paintings, sculptures, drawings, illustrations and a lineup of his rarely-seen short animated movies were showcased at the exhibit.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in collaboration with Shirin Gallery in Tehran organized an exhibition of artworks by Sadeqi in October 2016.
Earlier in March 2016, Art Dubai Modern, a major international art fair in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, showcased works by the 80-year-old artist.
Photo: Artist Ali-Akbar Sadeqi cuts his 84th birthday cake at the Iranian Artists Forum on November 22, 2021.