b. 1948 Iranian-Canadian
Keyvan Mahjoor was born and raised in the historical city of Isfahan, Iran, where from a very young age he was immersed in ancient art historical context and the city’s complex, multilayered cultural fabric. The masters of the art of Persian miniature painting trained him as a miniaturist. Even though modern in appearance, stylistic references of miniature painting are still evident in the composition and design elements of his latest drawings.
Keyvan Mahjoor’s sketches are narrative and lyrical; they weave together human figures, mythical characters, and symbolic forms; and are embedded with traditional arabesque designs and calligraphy. The use of text for illustrative purposes is a common and repetitive theme in Mahjoor’s drawings. Historically, the function of calligraphic inscriptions used in Persian paintings and illustrations served both an aesthetic and informative purpose. While the scripts and text in Keyvan Mahjoor’s drawings are incomprehensible, perhaps of greater importance is the manner by which the text has been implemented within the pictorial space and the cavities the words occupy within the framework of the drawings.
Upon the completion of his degree in Persian Literature from Pahlavi University in Shiraz, Mahjoor worked for the Niavaran Cultural Centre of Tehran for five years, and later established Ketab-e-Azad, a bookstore and publishing company in 1979. He moved to Montreal, Canada in 1981 where he has been based since, and continues to be an active voice for cultural and humanitarian causes in the exiled Iranian community. Having begun his exhibition practice only in the last couple of years, Mahjoor’s works have been enthusiastically received in various venues in Montreal and Toronto.