Sedaghat Jabbari is one of the most successful examples of artists who exploit Persian calligraphic elements to experiment with abstract painting. With an exceptional command of calligraphy and a thorough knowledge of graphic design, Jabbari has managed to create abstract paintings using exquisite compositions and powerful intrepid brushstrokes. Other qualities of Jabbari’s paintings include his knowledge of color, especially flat colors such as gold, and the way he blends close shades of color.
The letters in his work are considered visual elements that serve to present a painterly composition and effect an interaction between positive and negative spaces. The product of his creative endeavors is more an abstract painting that comprises calligraphic elements rather than anything associated with calligraphy, texts, and meaningful words. In this work, Jabbari is using warm colors, such as brown and gold, on a dark background to depict a phoenix on the wing across the canvas.
The phoenix is a mythological bird, described as an extraordinary, exotic creature in the Shahnama (The Book of Kings), Avesta, and Pahlavi scripts. Her outspread wings resemble a colossal cloud that is filled with water and can stretch across mountains while she is on the wing. This mythological bird is, no doubt, one of the most significant mythological figures that has attained prominence in Persian culture, art, and literature. Apart from the mythical stories of the Shahnama, the phoenix is mentioned in Attar’s Mantiq al-Tayr (The Conference of the Birds), as well as writings of Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi and Rumi. Rumi assigned her the status of an emissary, a divine bird, an embodiment of the greatest journey of the soul and a perfect human being. In his Phoenix collection, Sedaghat Jabbari is making his brush and letters soar into the air as a phoenix.
Sedaghat Jabbari is an eminent artist who in addition to winning the first prize of the Fourth International Biennial of Calligraphy Painting of the Islamic World in Turkey, 1998, has won a reputation in the international art market. One of his works was sold for $433,000 at the Christie’s Dubai auction in 2007.