Technique: acrylic, pen, rapit, gouache and ink on paper and canvas.

About Jelbert Karami

Born in Tehran in 1985, Jelbert Karami began painting at age 14 after seeing a work by Sohrab Sepehri at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. He studied at Mana, an art academy in Tehran, mounting his first solo exhibition there in 2005. At the age of 20, Jelbert committed his life to art, starting to paint professionally, teaching in various schools and holding workshops in private clubs in the city thereby gaining a reputation.

The challenges of being an artist in Iran include extreme censorship of subject matter; and while an Assyrian artist like myself can become well-known, there are eyes on him or her at all times” he says. Though he had more than a dozen highly-acclaimed solo exhibitions and was featured in a cover article in a national art magazine, he left his homeland for Vienna in 2015, stayed a few months, and came to the United States in 2016.

Jelbert’s work reflects both his spirituality and his love for the Assyrian nation, is focused on on Middle-Eastern culture and human-rights issues and especially the oppression of women. He has said that ‘seeing my history vanishing is devastating’ but he believes that humanity can ultimately become a true community by reaching past darkness for light, and ‘for me that light came through art.’

In his work, Jelbert aims to show the sorrow and darkness hidden in the human figures that he paints. Jerbert says: “Once I thought there was some room for freedom, but I am currently very unsure. I only know that we are like crusaders that have been crucified in our own time and I portray this image in my work not only because there is a way to be saved, but only for it to be expressed. Therefore, look at my work and listen so you can see.”