Ebresk’s stencils are among the most recognized in Iran’s capital. By plastering the faces of Iranian movie stars, heroes, and poets as well as iconic symbols of Tehran, he helps both the people and city retain their cultural identity. In addition to holding the exhibition ‘Meteorological Report’ in Aaran Gallery in 2013, Ebresk has been commissioned by the municipality to create works of public art, including aptly placed pieces such as the Telephone Kiosk in front of the telecommunications office and the Post Office Box just in front of the Post and Telecommunications Museum.
Shoatir is a mysterious figure, but the artist’s stencils are found not just in streets but also as part of gallery exhibitions. Among the artist’s most well-known stencils are that of beloved wrestler Takhti, former Prime Minister Mossadeq, and late director Abbas Kiarostami. The Mona Lisa stencil also became quite popular throughout the capital, and came about because “it’s expensive, so we might not be able to afford it. The Louvre is far and we may not be able to visit, so let’s have a ‘made in the homeland’ version to enjoy,” according to the artist’s Instagram page.
Mehdi Badiepeyma is another artist whose work gets commissioned by Tehran’s municipality. Among his well-known projects are the sticker designs for the city’s metro system which included thought bubbles above passengers’ heads and surreal doors leading to other dimensions. Other notable works are paintings under Hafez Bridge which depict Iranian pahlevan, traditional athletes, holding up the bridge with their bare hands and wall murals as part of Tehran’s beautification project.
Maneli Manouchehri is another commissioned illustrator whose murals at times seem endless, spanning the long streets of not just Tehran but other cities as well. Trees, birds, horses, and people feature heavily in her designs to create a dream-like, fairytale world we are tempted to climb into from the street. Maneli can also be seen every Persian new year, along with other local artists, painting her work on giant eggs which are then placed across the city.
A street artist from Tabriz, MAD combines social commentary with humor and metaphors of war, peace, and freedom to create his art. Though the walls are mainly his canvas, MAD has also presented his works in galleries in numerous countries including Iran, the US, Italy, Norway, Turkey, the UK, and Indonesia. When his urban art was censored in Istanbul, he made light of the situation, turning it into inspiration and creating works about censorship.
Negin Ehtesabian is an officially sanctioned visual artist based in Tehran. Her brightly colored murals liven the somber gray concrete walls of the capital city and feature themes such as a peaceful village in the summertime and the tree of life. Finding one of her sticker projects around town is like a treasure hunt. These whimsical characters could be pixies living among the city-dwellers, and if you can find the Iranian Mona Lisa, complete with nose job and cheek implants, you’ve struck gold!
Using mostly earth tones, Mirzaa creates street art reminiscent of cave paintings with a twist of modernity and surrealism. Through his figures with distorted elongated limbs and often dejected postures, he shows us that despite our feelings of loneliness in society, we are all actually interconnected. Finding a work by this artist is a real treat, and you’ll surely spend some time contemplating it just as you would were it in a museum.