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Mahmoud Meraji, is one of 5 artists to conduct visual art workshops as part of the the festival “Six Weeks of Iranian Art” taking place in Toronto.

He explained to euronews reporter Mohammed Mohammadi how he started his journey to become a master of portrait painting, when he was 16 years old and now considers himself a contemporary artist: “Being contemporary has nothing to do with style, as there is no such thing as ‘style’ in contemporary art. An artist should ‘find’ the painting, not ‘draw’ it. You must discover the images which exist inside your mind but you cannot materialise them.”

Meraji insists that his goal in this intensive workshop is to teach his students: “I teach my them that we should only bring ‘some’ parts of nature into our paintings. The idea that we have is to not necessarily paint what we see but what is interesting for them. We just paint the elements of nature, which help build the concept in our mind.”

Mahmoud Meraji moved to Canada 15 years ago has been active in North American art circles, but he never gave up his passion for teaching young talent: “The 3-day workshop was a great experience for me, because it taught me how to bring bravery and boldness into my painting. It gave me the confidence to break the rules I had learned, and at the same time be inspired by nature. This lead me to present a different type of artwork.”

Meraji has been awarded the grand prize in the International Portrait Arts Festival held by the Portrait Society of Canada.

Growing government pressure on Iranian filmmakers in recent years has forced many to opt for short-films which are less monitored by authorities and also easier to distribute.

Mostafa Azizi, the producer of an Iranian TV series who is a jury member at the Toronto festival and who recently moved to Canada believes that the Iranian cinema industry has improved in some ways since the revolution.

The selected movies will be screened at the Carlton Cinema in Toronto throughout the festival.

Copyright © 2014 euronews

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