Department of Design hosts three exhibits on Iranian visual culture

The Department of Design in the Faculty of Fine Arts at York is presenting a series of three exhibitions encompassing 50 years of Iranian visual culture and illustrating the long, rich history of Persian calligraphy, typography and graphic design. In addition, the event will feature a one-day workshop on the visual interpretation of music by a Tehran-based graphic designer and several lectures by Iranian artists.

Right: Forty Plus Forty, by Iranian graphic designer Majid Abbasi

The first exhibit, titled "9883.53km: Retrospective of Posters and Book Covers by Majid Abbasi" runs until March 28, the second exhibit, "50 Years of Calligraphy and Typography in Iranian Graphic Design", runs until April 4, while the final show, "Gen X: Posters by Young Iranian Graphic Designers", will run from March 29 to April 11. All three exhibits take place in Studio 4, fourth floor of the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Building, Keele campus.

A reception for the three exhibits, along with tea and Persian sweets and delicacies, will be held on March 28, from 5:30 to 8pm, in Studio 4 of the TEL Building. There are over 50 artists displaying 150 works.

Left: Our World is Still Alive by Tahamtan Aminian

First held at Switzerland’s Basel School of Design in 2007, "50 Years of Calligraphy and Typography in Iranian Graphic Design" showcases a diverse collection of works of Iranian graphic designers with an emphasis on the depth and breadth of the line, shape, colour, harmony, texture and visual rhythm of the work.

The exhibit "9883.53km: Retrospective of Posters and Book Covers by Majid Abbasi" features a selection of Abbasi’s colourful and engaging works. Abbasi, an Iranian graphic designer, typographer, educator and co-founder of the graphic design studio Did Graphics Inc. in Tehran, Iran, where he still resides, is best-known for his production of book covers and cultural posters.

The exhibition of "Gen X Posters by Young Iranian Graphic Designers" brings together the works of several outstanding young talents in the current Iranian graphic design scene. These works present an exciting landscape of experimental and compelling works informed by a rich history of visual culture.

Right: The Blind Own Typography Exhibition by Ali Khorshidpour

In addition to his exhibit, Abbasi will also present a one-day workshop, titled "Visual Interpretation of Music" on March 28, from 9:30am to 5:30pm, in Studio 4. In the "Visual Interpretation of Music" workshop, students will learn how to visualize a musical masterpiece and design a poster for the piece of music. As limited seats are available, contact project director Behrouz Hariri at

A fifth-year York University/Sheridan Institute design student who was born and raised in Tehran, Hariri will present a lecture on Iranian design on Friday, March 28, from 7 to 8pm, in Studio 4.  As part of a student exchange, Hariri spent the  2005-2006 academic year studying at the University of Tehran’s School of Visual Communication.

Left: Shazde Ehtejab by Alireza Mostafazadeh Ebrahimi

Professors Michael Renner and Gregory Vines of the Basel School of Design will talk about design on Tuesday, March 25, from 5 to 6pm in Studio 2 of the TEL Building. Renner, who experienced the digital revolution first-hand, will discuss the Basel School and its graduate program. The theme of his work involves researching and reflecting upon the digital medium and the meaning of images in this context. Renner has worked for Apple Computer Inc. and The Understanding Business in California. Vines, who teaches in the Department of Visual Communication at Basel, is interested in time-based media and imagery. He was born and raised in Massachusetts and attended the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston before taking on a teaching position at Basel.

Visiting hours for the exhibits are Monday to Friday, from 9am to 8pm, and Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 8pm.

For more information about the exhibitions, workshop and lectures, visit York’s Department of Design’s Virtual Gallery Web site.