An Introduction to the Cultural & Artistic Society of Iran
Book illustration in Iran goes back to centuries ago, but modern illustration of children’s books merely ages 50 years. But despite its youth, the work of children’s books illustrators has explored such a wide spectrum and enjoyed such success that is difficult to compare it to other artistic ventures. The initial traces of modern illustration of children’s books can be found in the efforts of Kanoon (The Foundation for Cultural Development of the Youth), Franklin Books, and a few publishers of the private sector. Today, with the expansion of children’s books market, a huge collection of illustration is available that has also added to the depth of the world market of illustrations. During these years, respected artists such as Farshid Mesghali, Nouraddin Zarrinkelk, Ali Akbar Sadeghi, Nikzad Nojoumi, Bahman Dadkhah, and Parviz Kalantari have illustrated a large number of children’s books. After the Islamic Revolution, illustrators in Iran have taken any effort to organise their activities. The first exhibition of children’s books illustration was held in 1989, which proved to showcase a variety of talents and creative minds who strive to better the world of illustration. The exhibition was repeated in 1991 in Asian level, and two years later as an international venue and turned illustration of children’s books to a serious issue in terms of the arts and publishing in Iran, as well as attracting international attention. Holding the exhibition in years 1999 and 2002 introduced innovative and creative young illustrators to the Iranian book industry. The necessity for the existence of a professional body led to launch of the Society of Children’s Books Illustrators in 2003 as a professional, not-for-profit, and non-governmental organisation.
To help promote children’s books illustration and improve its quality in order to reach to a national standard and for the creation of high-calibre works of art. To protect the rights of illustrators and facilitate their professional development as well as their social care.
1. Prepare for holding specialized exhibitions dedicated to illustration.
2. Arrange and carry out educational programmes for young illustrators, exploiting the experiences of pioneers of the field.
3. Try to hold cultural and artistic seminars on national and international levels.
4. Publish research conducted in relevant fields in order to add to the depth of the knowledge of illustrators.
5. Establish a museum, a specialist library and a database of illustration.
6. Protect the rights of illustrators, moral and financial.
7. Try to provide the members with general facilities.
Board of Governors, General Assembly, Management Board
The Board of Governors have handed over all their legal rights and responsibilities to the General Assembly after official meetings. The General Assembly is the fundamental section of the society and chooses the Management Board to handle its operations.
Members are categorized in three groups: pioneers, professionals, and students. The society is proud to have the pioneers of illustration as its members. The professionals are those members who constantly illustrate and earn their whole income or a part of it through illustration. The applications of these professionals are assessed in the membership committee (including three pioneer members) and is finalized after their confirmation. All students of visual arts, such as painting, graphics, etc. and any amateur illustrators may apply to be a student member. The society has so far 150 professional members, 50 student members, and some pending applications.
Achievements of the Members
Almost 80% of professional illustrators in Iran, who have had numerous successes, are members of the society. These achievements include winning prizes from national and international competitions and festivals. To include some names, the following list would be suitable: Illustration of Text-books, Masterpieces of Iranian Literature, Bratislava, Numa (Japan), Belgrade, and Kata (India).
Activities since the beginning
· Occasional exhibitions to commemorate pioneers of illustration. So far 10 such exhibits have been held to display works of: Morteza Momayez, Bahram Khaef, Janet Mikhaeli, Ali Akbar Sadeghi, Nouraddin Zarrinkelk, Nayereh Taghavi, Behzad Gharibpour, Nasrin Khosravi, Firouzeh Golmohammadi, Mehrnoush Masoumian, Mohammad Ali Bani Asadi, Abolfazl Hemmati Ahouei, Akbar Nikanpour, Gholamali Maktabi, and Bahman Dadkhah.
· Some yearly displays of the works of the members.
· Cooperation with national and international bodies to organise exhibitions or educational workshops:
o Frankfurt Book Fair – Exhibition and illustration workshop by a German illustrator and publisher.
o The British Council – Magic Pencil Group exhibition and Seemorgh-e Attar workshop by a British illustrator.
o Municipality of Tehran Cultural and Artistic Organisation – Ashura workshops for professional and student illustrators.
o Organisation for Educational Research and Planning – Illustration exhibition of Text-books.
o Iranian Police – Art and Security festival of illustration.
o House of Women Artists and Children’s Books Council – Iranian Literary Masterpieces Festival.
1. Four series of New Year postcards.
2. Rouyesh Magazine (the internal journal of the society).
3. The Yearbook of Children’s Books Illustrators since 2005 as a directory.
4. Website of the society: www.casi.ir
To build an atmosphere based upon direct contact between the members and to reach to a balance, in which friendship and professionalism go side by side, the committees of the society try to address the issues with focus. The committees are selected to define projects and follow up their progress under the supervision of the Management Board.
1. Education & Research Committee: to open a school of illustration, carry out specialist courses of illustration, collect theses and university research in the field of illustration, hold talks and specialist seminars.
2. Artistic Documents Committee: to follow up issues regarding the museum and library.
3. Members Committee: to take steps in providing facilities to the members, such as an internal loan system.
4. Publications & Information Committee: to hold editorial meetings for the internal magazine and the website, publicise illustration activities in the media and news agencies.
5. Legal Committee: to protect the rights of the members and compose a professional system in which moral and financial rights of the members are respected.
6. International Committee: to find out about international exhibitions and competitions of illustration, get connected to international educational centres.
7. Exhibitions Committee: to make arrangements with art galleries in order to showcase the works of illustrators, and yearly exhibits of members (all three types).
Friends of the Society
Since the Society of Children’s Books Illustrators has been born, many of its activities have become possible only by the kind support of its friends and some cultural organisations. We would like to thank the friends of the society and wish that with their ongoing support and the ever growing enthusiasm of the members we will be able to expand the spectrum of our activities. We welcome any help and support of people or cultural organisations that would be willing to be a part of our activities.