Friday, March 20, 2015

Mohammad Mosaddegh

Happy Nowruz 2015.  This is a portrait of Mohammad Mosaddegh the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran from 1951 until 1953.  Please take a moment to google " Mosaddegh "  His story is shocking.  The grandson of Teddy Roosevelt/ head of the CIA organized a coup d'├ętat against him, initiating a chain of covert U.S. powered foreign regime changes to other democratically elected leaders in places like Guatemala and Brazil.  These declassified events crack the edifice of America's claim to champion global democracy.  America's big stick mentality seems to be more in play here, especially the part about speaking softly.  However, I don't focus on this subject to criticize America, but rather to lament what the Iran/United States relationship could have been.  It becomes harder to imagine a day Persian-Americans could visit Iran like a European-American can visit France, or Belgium.

This portrait was commissioned by a friend of my family that is actually related to Mosaddegh.  From all accounts he was a kind and very well educated man.  The piece is 20 x 16 acrylic on panel.  The originally photograph was from a LIFE article.  I have added a few symbols like the colors of the Persian flag on the buttons of his left sleeve.  I made his shirt blue to represent his democratic stance.  Most importantly is the crack of light traveling up the door only to be cut short by the lock.  The light is the hope of Mosaddegh and Iran in 1951, and the lock doubles as the eye of the illuminati we see on the dollar bill surrounded subtly by a greenish triangle.