Apartamento Publishing S.L., 2023. Softcover, 192pp., 8.5 x 11.5 inches
Iranian artist Reza Shafahi (b. 1940) began his career in his 70s, having spent the preceding decades largely disconnected from his family, working through an addiction to gambling. Art became a way out when his son, artist Mamali Shafahi, invited him to participate in a daily drawing exercise. For the first time, a generous selection of Reza’s works are collected within a stand-alone volume, celebrating the full scope of his artistic practice. Edited by Jina Khayyer, Reza Shafahi, The Diary of a Gambler features a selection of art curated by Mamali and by Tony Cox, owner and founder of Club Rhubarb in New York City, where Reza had his first solo show in 2019.
Apartamento magazine first told Reza’s captivating story in issue #29, and Reza Shafahi, the Diary of a Gambler is punctuated by a first-person reimagining of Khayyer’s original interview. Classic poems by Rumi, Khayyam, Saadi, and the more modern Forough Farrokhzad—clear influences on Reza’s vibrant and sensual creations—are presented here in Farsi and in English translation. Contributions by Mamali, Cox, Michael Bullock, and Martha Kirszenbaum lend further context to Reza’s artistic journey, into a world that, as Kirszenbaum notes, shines with ‘a touch of glow and softness.’