KASRA’I, HOSAYN SIAVASH (Ḥosayn Siāvaš Kasrāʾi, b. Tehran, 1318 Š./1939; d. Tehran, 8 Tir 1382 Š./20 June 2003), painter. His father’s career entailed a great deal of traveling. Kasra'i's observations during these numerous travels had later an enormous effect on his artistic works. He lived in Khorasan until he was eighteen, when the family moved to Kermānšāh. There, at a class set up by an American resident, Margaret Turner, he studied the principles of design and visual arts for two years. Then he went to Austria and continued his study of painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna for two years before returning to Persia.
For the first twenty years of his artistic activity he concentrated on oil painting, and then he was drawn towards watercolor production (“Siāvaš Kasrāʾi,” pp. 1-2). According to Ruʾin Pākbāz (interviewed by the author), the works in both genres reflect the realistic and surrealistic tendencies of the artist. His cooperation in the last ten years of his life with the Charitable Society for Cultural Assistance (Jāmeʿa-ye niku-kāri-e yāvari-e farhangi), whose objective was eradication of poverty in southern Khorasan, had fresh influence on his later works, which mostly reflected impoverishment and the hardship of life (“Gozāreš,” p. 45). He participated in more than one hundred group exhibitions both at home and abroad. He also arranged for independent exhibitions of his own works at various art galleries and donated all their proceeds to the relief funds for the rural population in southern Khorasan. The last individual exhibition of his paintings was at Vienna in December 2002 (“Gozāreš,” p. 45). In recognition of his valuable services and contributions, on 25 September 2001, the two dormitories built by the Charitable Society for Cultural Assistance for the use of art students inSarāyān, Khorasan, were named after him (“Bā mosāferān-e pāʾizi,” p. 10).
Keyvān ʿAli-Moḥammadi and Omid Bonakdār made a short film of his life story, called The Landscapes of Siāvošabād (Čašmandāzhā-ye Siāvošābād, 2002), which won the award for the best film of the year.
Kasra'i was a prolific, creative artist who produced many original works and never fell under the influence of other painters (“Šāḵa-ye gol,” p. 8). He lived the last eighteen of his productive life in agony, suffering from the most acute kind of rheumatism and spinal osteoporosis; he died of bronchitis in Tehran. He was buried at The Behešt-e Zahrā Cemetry in southern Tehran.
Kasrā’i is remembered as a broad-minded, sociable individual emotionally attached to his homeland and as an artist devoted to his art (Šamḵāni, p. 14). Among his best-known productions are: K@òān (Chief). The Memory of Wood (Ḥāfeẓa-ye čub)Pigeon Tower (Borj-e kabutar), The Flower Branch (Šāḵ-e gol), and The Autumn Garden (Bāḡ-e pāʾizi).
“Bā mosāferān-e pāʾizi-e jonub-e Ḵorāsān” Yāvari 9/11, 1981, pp. 6-11.
“Gozāreš-i az marāsem-e bozorgdāšt-e Ostād Siāvoš Kasrāʾi,” Yāvari 9/10, 1981, pp. 44-45.
“Šāḵa-ye gol-e šekasta,” Abrār, no 4221, 2003.
Moḥammad Šamḵāni, “Dargirihā wa daḡdaḡahā-ye ensāni” Irān, no 2521, 24 Tir 1382 Š./15 July 2003.
“Siāvaš Kasrāʾi,” Tehran, Ābān 1380 Š./October-November 2001 (a brochure published on the occasion of his death).
Originally Published: May 1, 2012
Last Updated: July 20, 2005