Feb 27 2013

Farideh Lashai, Iranian Artist, Dies at 68

by Sylvia Tsai

FARIDEH LASHAI, 2013. Courtesy Leila Heller Gallery, New York.

Farideh Lashai, one of Iran’s most celebrated contemporary female artists, died on February 24 from cancer at the age of 68. Her New York gallery, Leila Heller, announced the news earlier this week.

Lashai was known for her lyrical abstract paintings and multimedia installations—combining video projections and canvas works—that took inspiration from personal experiences, socio-political conflicts and the natural world.

 “I have never painted from nature; in the sense of painting a landscape I can look at. But I suppose I have painted by nature. The richness of nature amazes me, and amazement is the starting point for all artistic pursuits,” says Lashai in an interview with Canvas Magazine in 2007.

Having held 100 solo and group exhibitions at home and abroad, Lashai was one of the most active artists in Iran with works in private and public collections including the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Born in Rasht, Iran in 1944, Lashai was trained at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna and began her artistic career in the late 1960s, after working as a writer and translator, as well as a crystal designer in Austria and Germany. Her continued passion for writing led her to publish a novel, Shal Bamoo (The Jackal Came) (2003), which received critical acclaim from the Iranian literary community.

In the late 1990s, Lashai co-founded Neda Group, an artist collective comprised of 12 Iranian female painters, who reflected upon identity.

There are plans for Lashai’s house in Darbandsar, a village located northeast of Tehran, to be converted into a museum.