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Watercolour (pardaz technique), colour pencil and pencil on paper 

I am proposing a piece representing ‘The Rose and the Nightingale’ theme whilst focusing on atypical elements associated with the theme to establish my own rendition.

Upon familiarising myself with the ‘The Rose and The Nightingale’, it quickly absorbed my attention and has thus become the main body of my work. The imagery became a distinct form of iconography that surfaced in decorative materials ranging from ceramics, lacquer to illuminated manuscripts. Consequently, it became an important constituent of the Iranian cultural repertoire that during the late Qajar era Iran was referred to by the West as ‘The Kingdom of the Rose and Nightingale’. In the three months, self-imposed residency in Isfahan in 2014 I intensely focused on the traditional rendition of the theme, while the work took a different direction in the following years in my studio in Dubai. However, as I explored, the more I was intrigued and began evaluating the concept of beauty, ultimately influencing me to evolve my approach and perspectives throughout the years. This is corroborated by my acknowledgement of the undeniable beauty of the work, but questioning the conceptual notion of the term ‘beauty’ and how the implicit connotations of that can modify.

Furthermore, there was a period in which I eradicated many of the traditional elements that were associated with ‘The Rose and The Nightingale’ and began to focus on the components which were more organic to me. Most notably, I began focusing on the expression and direction of the nightingale’s gaze which was critical in orchestrating the overall composition. Simultaneously, utilising lines/strokes across the page to challenge the image of perfection that is associated with ‘The Rose and The Nightingale’, which was fundamental in exploring my interpretation of the matter. 


Behnaz Ghasemi was born in Mashhad, Iran in 1977. She completed her studies in the principles of academic painting and art criticism in the three different nations, the United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and Iran; and is currently studying philosophy at the University of London.Her work has been acclaimed by major art institutions and is now featured in The British Museum’s permanent collection.



ولدت بهناز قاسمي في مشهد في ايران عام ١٩٧٧. اكملت دراساتها في مبادىء الرسم الاكاديمي والنقد الفني في ثلاثة بلدان مختلفة، الامارات العربية المتحدة، المملكة المتحدة وايران،؛ و هي اليوم تتابع دروسا في الفلسفة في جامعة لندن. حظيت اعمالها بترحيب واسع لدى مؤسسات فنية كبرى وهي اليوم معروضة ضمن المجموعة 

 .The British Museum البريطاني الدائمة في المتحف


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