Under the project of Behnoode Foundation, The New Imaginary Map art piece is currently being displayed at The Center for Contemporary Art in Berlin, Germany and will be available to the public until February 21, 2021.

Zartosht Rahimi is an Iranian artist, who lives and works in Iran. He works with mixed media such as graphics, illustrations, paintings, videos and installations. With a focus on social issues, political, folk culture and art, his work is reflective of the highs and lows of daily life. He has held over 30 solo and group exhibitions in Canada, Germany, France, Norway, the United States and Iran.

His new piece, ‘New Imaginary Map’ is a 300 x 210 cm acrylic art piece on cardboard with nine smaller parts which are a representation of the world map reimagined by the artist, with symbols and images that are timely and relevant to modern society. Created as a social and political commentary for global affairs, the Iranian artist’s exhibition ‘The Invented History’ at the KINDL Center for Contemporary Art was a part of the Berlin Art Week in Berlin in September, 2020.

“I want to create a visual fantasy with bright colours and humor to create a deeper way of thinking to those who will see the art piece. When they see my painting, I want them to be critical, to spark conversation and hopefully make some meaningful action.” said Zartosht Rahimi.

In the top part of the painting, the artist has painted himself. “I painted my own hands raised and standing in the air with a feeling of surprise. I want the people to think that the surprising reaction is caused by the chaos and disorder of the world leaving himself asking – what am I doing here?” he added.

The art piece has a political edge to it, including figures such as Lenin, Trump and Malcolm X, with wandering soldiers and the late Egyptian singer Umm Kulthoum present in the painting. It is symbolic of today’s day and age, with eagles, dragons, Russian drones, a broken statue of Buddha, the sun, the moon and rockets sent to outer space to symbolize human fragility, control and chaos.

These elements are used to create an in depth perspective on the usual 2D world map. It shows that whilst the world is the same, the things that happen that shape our world make it what it is today.

“COVID-19 pandemic has made me realize how small and vulnerable our world is and I want to express it through this new piece.” said Zartosht Rahimi. 

“I view the pandemic as an opportunity to change and start something new. We have been through this without knowing what to do or what’s coming next. We are all blinded and taking little steps everyday to make our lives back to normal. In the art industry, it’s definitely a low blow. We have been challenged even before the pandemic but I see these moments as an opportunity for me and for the whole industry to co-exist with the changes of time.”

“Art is a very important part of any society as it is all about culture. No society can be mature in any aspect if the people or their communities do not understand art and culture. With the new normal, I plan to make myself more visible to the younger generation and have my art pieces ready on my social media platforms. I want to be accessible to the teenagers and youth as they are my audience. I want to inspire them, I want them to be critical thinkers and I want them to have a more in-depth understanding of the world through art” says Rahimi.

Iranian artist Zartosht Rahimi