The Rose and The Nightingale
This work is inspired by Hafez's Ghazel: The Rose and The Nightingale. Each rose and nightingale is my tribute to the nightingale which lost its life, piercing its breast on the thorn of the rose while trying to become one with its beloved.I painted the English Robin and later heard an old fable maintains that Robin got its red breast from a splash of the blood of Christ. As I painted I felt I was communing with my Beloved within me.
There are many species of Nightingales in the world; when I painted this, my first "Nightingales" painting, I had yet to learn, the true Nightingale of which Hafez speaks is the Red-Vented Bulbul.
I painted roses from the Garden of Paradise and the gardeners even gave me some roses to take back to my hotel room to paint from at night.
When the Shiraz Cultural Institute saw this painting, Mr. Navid said, “You paint with the colors of Shiraz! This painting should be called “'Shiraz' because it has all the
colors of Shiraz.” That is why on the poster for the show at Hafez Tomb they featured this painting and called the exhibition: “Shiraz”. Amir Sabooki created a poster for the show and also curated the exhibition. He hoped that in the future we would have joint exhibitions: Persian artists exhibiting here in the West and artists from the West exhibiting in Iran.
There was a miraculous happening as to how I got the show at Hafez Tomb. I used to read my astrology for the day. It was December 8, 2004. The internet was down, and I had to go out. As I was leaving, the manager of the Pars Hotel asked me to meet someone. I told him I had to go but would meet him another time. The next day, December 9th, I read my astrology for that day as well as for December 8th. I was intrigued by December 8th’s entry, which read, “…someone in authority will introduce you to someone who can further all your career goals and aspirations. Don’t turn it down under any circumstance!” I then ran over to the hotel manager and asked if the person he wanted me to meet was still there. He said yes. The man, a renowned photographer of southern Iran named Amir Sabooki, was having an exhibition of his photographs in the back lobby of the hotel. I was introduced to Sabooki, and after looking at his wonderful photographs of Iran, he asked to see my paintings. Next, Sabooki called the Governor General of Fars Province, the Director of Tourism and the Shiraz Cultural Institute to tell them about me. During his call to the Governor General I was offered an exhibition either at the five star government Hotel Homa or at Hafezieh, the Tomb Shrine of Hafez. He told me I could sell my paintings at Hotel Homa but not at the Tomb of Hafez. In seconds I answered, “I choose Hafezieh! What an honor!" I was told that I would be the first artist ever to exhibit there. The next day, December 10, Mr. Navid and The Shiraz Cultural Institute arrived at the hotel to view my paintings and everything unfolded from there.