Elham Kalashak - Artist of the Month

We were pleased to kick start I.C.C’s 2021 Artist of the Month campaign with Elham Kalashak, a visual artist and poet who is joining us from Iran. Kalashak aims to evoke a sense of romanticism in her paintings that are paired with love stories and draw upon her own culture and identity.

In her recent works, Kalashak has chosen to use second hand Qalamkar, also referred to as Kalamkari or the pen cloth, as a fundamental presence in her practice. This type of hand-painting or block-printed cotton textile has been used for centuries, and by using second-hand materials Kalashak views her own art as a collaboration between several artists and not just herself. Similar to the production process of Qalamkar, Kalashak also uses a pomegranate tonal range in her art which is a symbol of love in Iranian mythology and literature. After years of studying Iranian mythology, it began to influence Kalashak’s paintings and poetry.

As we explore Kalashak’s collage and oil paintings, each one will be accompanied by a poem that corresponds to the piece. There is not a finite structure to Kalashak’s process; some of the poems were made for the paintings as others are what inspired Kalahak to start the painting – it is a delicate relationship that is broken in some ways but intact in others.

All poems have been translated into English by Elham Kalashak and Jacklin Goldian.

𝘜𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘭 𝘴𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘢 𝘸𝘪𝘯𝘥 𝘣𝘭𝘰𝘸𝘴, 2016

Qalamkar, thread, glue, and acrylic paint

40’ x 40’

SOLD in national auction

Until such a wind blows

I'm looking for a moment, drunk and playful I perished my obedience,

until the wind blew like that

a moment of your joiner I'm drunk and I'm dancing

a moment the insane of your pain until such a wind blows

In the fire, in the water, I’m guest in ruins I will not let go of your love,

until the wind blows like this

a moment I’m ash, a moment I’m wind

a moment I’m begger , a moment I’m king

feel me at your feet,

until the wind blew like that

your ruby lips drove me crazy that night I'm drunk and stupid,

until the wind blows like that

prayer room is a colored rug by wine I am a disbeliever and an atheist, until such a wind blows

تا باد چنين بادا "

من از پي يک لحظه، مستي و نظربازي

طاعات فنا کردم، تا باد چنين بادا

يکدم ز وصال تو، من مستم و مي‌رقصم

يکدم زغمت مجنون، تا باد چنين بادا

در آتش و در آبم، مهمان خراباتم

از عشق تو بي‌تابم، تا باد چنين بادا

گه خاکم و گه بادم، دريوزه‌گر و شاهم

در پاي تو افتادم، تا باد چنين بادا

لعل تو مرا آن‌شب ديوانه و مجنون کرد

من مستم و لايعقل، تا باد چنين بادا

سجاده ز مي رنگين سر بر قدمت دارم

من کافر و بي‌دينم، تا باد چنين بادا

𝘵𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘮𝘦, 2016

Qalamkar, thread, glue, and acrylic

40’x 40’

Sold in National Auction

Take me

Silence is more lasting,

take me with a word.

It's me who won't leave

Buy me in exchange of a glass of wine.

I walk around at night with the imagination of his face

From this land of dependence,

Take me overnight

you've made glass from stone

which his heart is made of,

for the wine to be left in

Take me.

My heart winced of sorrow,

The sorrow winced of his bitter words

But to the joy of a single song

Take me.

He promises me, He lies to me

But in this dispute, he takes me coquettishly

He sits behind the closed door of ruins

He is afraid of love

What have I done wrong?

I swear to love

by a passion

Take me

مرا ببر

سکوت ماندنی تر است،به گفته ای مرا ببر

منم که دل نمی کنم،به باده ای مرا بخر

من از خیال روی او شبانه پرسه می زنم

ز این دیار ماندنی شبانه ای مرا ببر

سبو زگل سرشته ای،گل از غبار روی او

به یک شراب مانده در خمانه ای مرا ببر

دلم ز غم رمیده شد،غم از کلام تلخ او

به شادی نوای یک ترانه ای مرا ببر

وعده به من همی دهد،لاف به من همی زند

در این نزاع و کشمکش،به عشوه ای مرا ببر

در به خرابه بسته و در پس آن نشسته است

به تک شعاع رانده از پنجره ای،مرا ببر

حذر ز عشق می کند،من چه گناه کرده ام

تو را قسم به عاشقی،به جذبه ای مرا ببر

𝘐'𝘮 𝘓𝘢𝘵𝘦, 2015


47” x 32”


I’m Late

Why am I always late for romance?

Why do I reach the end of good stories late?

My life has settled inside a cocoon,

Why do I arrive late to the climax of the butterflies’ dance?

I am eager to go into a new home, but,

Why do I arrive late to my bridal chamber?

To the school, teacher, lesson, and love,

Why do I arrive late with a little excuse?

To the darling who arrived from the journey of the green valleys,

Why do I arrive late from the blessing of somebody’s presence?

To my own alley, that spring alley,

Why do I arrive late after the passing your gaze?

To the birth of an ax on Farhad’s head,

Why am I late for the sweetness of a pomegranate?

To the benighted horse and sunless snare,

Why am I late for the hunt of the Turkmen?

My body is filled with a budless spring,

Why am I late to the growth of the swallows?

My whole hand is full of the odes,

Why am I late to a folk song?

I sacrifice myself to the feverish eastern of your pupil,

Why am I late to the slaughterhouse of the mad lovers?

دیر میرسم

همیشه به عاشقانه ها دیر می رسم،چرا؟

به آخر خوش افسانه ها دیر می رسم،چرا؟

نشسته زندگیم درون یک پیله

به اوج رقص پروانه ها دیر می رسم،چرا؟

به شوق بخت به خانه نو می روم ولی

به پای حجله خود دیر می رسم،چرا؟

به مکتب و استاد و درس و عاشقی

به خرده بهانه ای دیر می رسم،چرا؟

به یار آمده از سفر دره های سبز

به یمن حضور کسی،دیر می رسم،چرا؟

به کوچه خودم،آن کوچه بهار

پس از عبور نگاه تو دیر می رسم،چرا؟

به رویش تیشه از تولد فرهاد،

به شیرینی انار تب زده دیر می رسم،چرا؟

به اسب شب زده و کمند بی خورشید

برای شکار ترکمن دیر می رسم،چرا؟

تنم پر از بهار بی جوانه است

به رویش چلچله ها دیر می رسم،چرا؟

تمام دست من شده پر از بار غزل

به یک ترانه عامیانه دیر می رسم،چرا؟

فدای شرقی تب دار مردم چشمت

به مسلخ عاشقان دیوانه دیر می رسم،چرا؟

𝘚𝘦𝘭𝘭 𝘔𝘦, 2015

Oil on Canvas

47” x 32”


Sell me

Sell me