Rebellion against Oblivion:Visual Accounts on life and Works of Samad Behrangi
“Several Accounts of a Man Who Reunited with Aras” is the title of a group painting exhibition, curated by Arash Tanhai, that has recently been held at Dena Gallery (August 28 – September 14, 2015). Depicting 10 paintings and 48 documents including book covers, posters, and personal photos, the exhibition showcases the life and works of late Samad Beherangi, the prominent Iranian teacher, writer of children’s books, social critic, folklorist, and translator.
“I’ve been trying to come up with an unofficial undignified visual compendium of knowledge on Samad Behrangi in this exhibition. Like previous exhibitions, which were concentrated on an outstanding Iranian public figure of the recent past, I took aim at both oblivion on the side of young people and biased representation of these figures on the side of artists, critics, etc.” Arash Tanhai stated elaborating on the objectives of the exhibition. “Therefore, I selected a wide range of works by both young and veteran artists encompassing painters and illustrators, and figurative and street artists.” He added. Answering a question on research background of the exhibition, the curator referred to collecting documents and interviewing Behrangi’s close friends along with visiting his hometown, Tabriz.
Simultaneous with the 48th anniversary of Behrangi’s mysterious death, exclaimed the curator, the exhibition has tried to revive the significant impact of Behrangi’s works and thoughts on the society to date. The exhibition has tried to revive the significant impact of Behrangi’s works and thoughts on the society and to trace them up to the present time. “Laid on the Procrustean bed of political interpretations,” Tanhai added, “Samad Behrangi’s literary talents and educational heritage have been subject to negligence.”
Samad Behrangi (June 1939 – August 1967) was a short story writer, translator, critic, and prolific teacher. A graduate of English Literature from University of Tabriz, he wrote numerous short stories for children touched up with social concerns. Meanwhile, he contributed to many translations mainly from Azari to Persian. Among the short stories he wrote for children, ‘Ulduz and the Talking Doll,”Ulduz and the Crows,’ ‘Talkhoon,’ ‘One Peach and A Thousand Peaches,’ and ‘The Little Black Fish,’ can be regarded as examples, the latest of which brought him international reputation.
As a translator, he has contributed to two volumes of folktales, translated from Turkish to Persian, and many translations of the contemporary poems from Persian to Turkish and vice a versa. His criticism of the social issues especially those related to educational system resulted in publication of ‘ Investigations into the Educational Problems of Iran.’
‘The Little Black Fish’ is an allegory narrated through the voice of an old fish addressing many young fish. As an account on a long journey of a little black fish swimming against the main stream of the river, the book was banned for many years for political reasons.