Welcome to Virtual Exposition Rooms
The Iranian Canadian Congress is proud to announce the launch of the third stage of its Art Project 1400 on December 21, synchronous with the Persian celebration of winter solstice, a long-lasting Persian tradition, Shab-e-Yalda. In this exhibition, we have three rooms: Room 1 (Iranian Antiquity), Room 2 (Contemporary Art), Room 3 (First Nation’s Antiquity).
It is well-known that traditions and understanding cultural roots give people a sense of belonging to something greater than themselves. This exhibition, emphasizing on pottery, is exploring the domain of arts and artifacts that are bearing or expressing cultural values. We want to celebrate Iran’s cultural heritage alongside with that of the Canadian First Nation’s to establish a sense of communal empowerment and create a feeling grounded in history and culture.
Our project is about communal healing and Shab-e-Yalda which is the darkest and longest night of the year can symbolically be considered as an occasion in which the Persian families come together for support, healing, and building community resilience to face the longest and darkest night. It is the time for gathering in unity and solidarity and looking forward to a new beginning when the darkness fades out and the brightness of light fades in. We hope you enjoy this collection.
Pottery is the first synthetic material ever created by humans. The term refers to objects made of clay, a mixture of earth and water. When mankind discovered fire, pottery left near it was hardened. Experimentation eventually led to hotter fires and kilns. As time wore on, ancient men discovered how to decorate their pots and add glazes. Earth, water, and fire were sacred elements in many ancient cultures. The addition of decorating elements to pottery helped define separate cultures. It gave each tribe a mode of cultural expression in the world. What started as a way to satisfy primitive needs, then its joyful creation became a way to identify various cultures. This was the beginning of art in both pottery and ceramics. Pieces of this ancient art are still being found at archeological sites today.
The art of pottery making dates all the way back to the Neolithic revolution. In the Kingdom of Ancient Iran dates to more than 10,000 years ago and in Canada the earliest ceramics were made in the northern Yukon more than 3,500 years ago. As well as many other cultures, earth, water, and fire were sacred elements in the ancient Iranian culture. Mazdak, one of ancient Iranian prophets for example, believed as the three elements are God-givens to all human, they are to be respectfully preserved (not to be contaminated) and neither them nor anything made from them can be essentially owned. Canada’s Arctic regions can be traced to the culturally rich lands draining into the valley of the Mississippi River. Inuit believed that all things had a form of spirit, including humans. By believing that all things, including animals, have souls any treatment of the nature failed to show appropriate respect and customary supplication would only give the liberated spirits cause to avenge themselves. Thus, respecting nature, in its own mythological way, has been part and parcel of the aboriginal people. And to this day it has been shown that aboriginal social-ecological systems in some areas have been found to be far more resilient and sustainable than European methods post-colonisation.
As we see, in both Iranian and Indigenous Canadian cultures, respecting nature and conserving it are essential parts of their culture. Pottery, as one on the earliest form of art, symbolizes human relation to earth and water, which are among the most valuable elements even to this day. As a modern artist, Elin Hughes, says, pottery is also about making balance, a balance of maker and material, of human and non-human forces and therefore has connections with modern ecological interpretations of material agency. It presents the harmony, balance and beauty of opposites also known as polarity: earth-water, water-fire, dark-light, and the like. It is making functional sculptures that symbolizes our culture, roots, and our earliest connection to the nature.
Ancient Iranian Pottery
Contemporary Canadian Ceramists
First Nations Ancient Potteries