About 27 years ago I took part in a play. I took these pictures but they were lost until I accidentally found the negatives.
Back in June 2009 Neda Agha Sultan was shot by a Basij member. Basij is a so-called volunteer militia that operates in the Islamic Republic of Iran (whenever the authorities want to use violence against the public or need a rent a mob. In reality these people are not volunteers they are on the payroll). She was shot as part of the policy to spread fear amongst peaceful protesters who were upset by the rigged elections. In those days I was watching events live on the internet and broadcasting it wherever I could. I was so moved by watching this event that with the slightest mention of her name I had to force myself and hold back the tears.
Inspired by the poem “Anthem for Doomed youth” by Wilfred Owen on 23rd June 2009 I wrote this poem and created this image of a man with the face of the globe looking behind a distorted glass.
What lamenting cry for you who fell like a leaf?
More howling guns or sound of protesting feet?
What drops should pour for this anguish?
Their tears of Gas? More weeping in blood vanquished?
No mockeries for you; no drink from their martyr’s well,
Nor sound and vision from a TV deaf and blind for those who fell,
No gleam of sorrow from these murderous beasts,
Only a frenzy as they persist their blood feast.
How many candles should we burn to keep your memory alive?
Burn the World with your light or go back to just survive?
You gave your youth, life and beauty,
Shame on us to live but not to do our duty.
Life is just a day, our lives race towards the dusk,
We shall walk your path in freeway, we must until we turn to dust.
Ramin Tork 23rd June 2009
If we’re being real, an “Olympic size” really refers to “the dimensions or length prescribed for the Olympic Games and other major athletic competitions.” But popular culture has morphed this term to infer something is LARGE, VOLUMINOUS, and WORTHY OF A SECOND TAKE.
Through my time reading about and looking at art, I know there are a number of VOLUMINOUS pieces around town.
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The Big Dipper
We took the dog for a late walk. She is still a pup but she could pull a truck. I said give me the lead I’ll control her you go forward and make her think you lead the pack. I circled the dog but she wouldn’t heel. Dog wanted to lead the pack and I’m in charge. Breathless, pointed ears and nose to the ground. She sniffed rabbit holes and kept pulling the lead. The clock chimed twelve times and we stood silent in an endless field of grass. In the distance were shadows of trees and dim lights behind windows. I looked up and said do you know your constellations?
She said: I don’t. I bet you do Dad.
I said, you see those seven together?
That’s Big Dipper and that’s Polaris that is. She said which ones I can’t see. They used to think it was a bear; those seven like a saucepan or like a plough, or a funeral procession.
She said: Can we go home now?
I said: Wait, just wait for one minute and look.
Take a deep breath of this moist summer air, look carefully at the sky and try to see. One night you will look and find your own seven. They could look like a girl leading a father being pulled by a dog in a deep black sea. One day in the stars you will look and find me.
Regained Grandour, a set on Flickr.
Back in 1977 when I was 13, I was fortunate enough to be awarded this comic book titled “Azemat-e Baazyaafteh” (“Restored Grandeur”) by my school. It is perhaps now a collector’s item as it was not sold in shops and I doubt if many copies have survived in Iran. Irrespective of your views on the late king, it is a fun book to read. I will try to scan and send the 62 pages bit by bit.
It just shows that whilst other kids read Superman and Batman comics, we were being nurtured on the milk of politics from an early . I recently saw an exhibition of Soviet Propaganda posters in Tate Modern, London and it was great. It is a shame that with our regular regime change, we destroy a lot of history but If someone ever opens a Museum of Iranian Propaganda in Iran, I might be tempted to donate this book after I’m dead.
Based on Dante’s inferno I wrote and illustrated this small piece. The story is base on letters that you would never write and hence it is called Dead Letters.
This is also a pastiche of My name is Red.
I am the lost man, not knowing who I am or where I come from I am lost.I look at my reflection on the surface of water and see a middle-aged man I do not recognize.I see a ghostly dark forest, no path, no beginning no ending.I have no desire to move yet I must, but in which way I do not know. Have I been here, have I circled this place many times I do not know. I desire a past I do not remember. A past that never existed.
I am the she-wolf. I am the one that desires your flesh.The hunger never satisfied.The one that forced you to move.I chase you in your darkest hour.Haunt you whenever you find peace. I send you in circles till you become breathless. You see me in the shadows till you reach the end of your time. I am your fear. I am your foe yet I am your friend! You are who you are for who I am.
I am your uncle. I am the poet. The one who had it but lost it all.The envy of all others but destined for the dark abyss. I wrote poems.It was left unread when I burnt my books in my rage. I am the letter you sent to the past, somewhere where there are long carefree summers before they turned to dark winters.When as a child you held my hand, I gave you a toy gun and said, look we’ll shoot whatever monster comes your way. Follow me and leave this forest. Learn from my demise. Your home will then show its way.
I am your home land. I am the lion.Old and angry I roar in pain.You hear my roar and the sound echoes in the forest.I am the letters you write to save me. The letters in which you tore your heart caring for my children. Your love for me turns your head back but I am not the one who holds you back.
I am your faith. I am the blind childish faith that you once had.You left me here as I was. A boy standing here praying, amongst the ruins and to whom I do not know!Do not look at me, I was of no use to you then I did not make you lose nor find your way! I am the letter that you sometimes miss. It is when you ask would it not have been better?
I am your mother. I am the one who abandoned you.In time you learnt why I made my choices. Now I live in a place free from blame. When you became a man you saw me as a girl. But still seek the smell of my milk in the world and in everything that you seek. You have learnt to let go so I am not the one who holds you here.I am the letter you write for every woman you love. Each with blue eyes, or brown. Each a reflection of me.
I am the hostage taker. I am the image of you that the world sees.I am the mask of your skin.I am your “TH” becoming “T” or “D”. The foreign man who could not be trusted.The one whose language is the second language no matter what tongue you use.I lurk in your shadow but I am not holding you back.I am not you. Do not write to me. I am not you.
I am your future. I am the future of all men.Before me there is darkness.After me there is darkness.Learn to live or lose your moment. I do not hold you back. In your letter, I push you forward till you embrace me as a friend, but all in good time. All in good time!
I am love. I make you blissfully free any moment.When you are with me there is no you and I there is simply I. With me you are not in a place and you are not yourself so you are not lost. What has held you in the forest is losing the sight of me. Let go! I am the care in your beloved’s eyes. The smell of your daughter’s hair.A kiss on your bold father’s head. I am not a letter, I am not lost. I am with you always! Go from this forest and live with me!