19 September 2022–4 November 2022

Beyond the Seas there is a City

by Parinaz Eleish Gharagozlou

Leila Heller Gallery

This series focuses on history and it’s relation to our future.

Starts 19 September 2022

Ends 4 November 2022

Venue Leila Heller Gallery

Warehouse 86/87


This series focuses on history and it’s relation to our future. When a society’s link to the past is severed, it promises a rootless lot. With the systematic destruction of the familiar stories of a people, we will have no evidence and no memory to propel us toward a sane future. Eleish’s works may provoke strong emotions of nostalgia in the viewer but it is not backward-looking. The goal of these works is to alert the viewer that, as a society, we need to be mindful of what has been handed down to us and preserve it for the next generation. Preservation of the past is an investment in the future.

It is the tradition of storytelling in Iran that inspires Eleish. Those epic stories that tell of heroes, martyrs, giants, and monsters can cause tears of joy or sadness in the eyes of the captured audience. Her large unframed panels resemble the painted curtains of the traveling storytellers. They allow her as a painter to have a surface with no clear boundaries to tell tall tales as if the stories will continue beyond the edge of the canvas, spilling out, allowing you to imagine the rest of the story outside the frame. Each canvas tells stories of loss, triumph, and the future. Some are tragic, some whimsical. The miniature details within the large-scale paintings are a tribute to the miniature painting tradition in Iranian art. The tradition's sense of scale, stilted perspectives, and minute details have always fascinated her. In this series, Eleish sees herself as a storyteller of a moment in time. She often works from ordinary snapshots that she has taken. They are rarely significant. But they capture what moves her. “Though I begin each painting with a story and an idea, at the core, I hope it is the raw emotion that will carry the viewer.” She says.

Parinaz Eleish Gharagozlou was born in Tehran to an Iranian mother (historian/publisher) and an Egyptian father (economist). She grew up in Tehran until high school and finished her diploma in Switzerland before coming to the US for her higher education. Eleish recieved a BFA in Film Production and Painting from Emerson College and the Museum of Fine Arts in 1981. She holds two MFAs: one in Film Production from Boston University and one in English Writing and Poetry from the University of New Hampshire. After graduation, Eleish worked in various areas of film production at different independent Boston film production companies. For five years she held the position of film and media coordinator at the French Library and Cultural Center, now merged with the Alliance Francaise in Boston. In 1993 Eleish moved to back to Tehran where she had her own painting company Samarkand a Faux Real co., which specialized in faux finish painting. Eleish returned to the US after three years and started Damascus Dreams, a one man hand crafted jewelry design company specializing in work with ancient beads, before she began painting full-time. Eleish has published poetry in English and recently published a novel in farsi which is available in print and audio on Amazon, iTunes and related book stores as well as in Iran. Eleish and her husband Yahya Gharagozlou live most of the time in Boston, and part time Tehran. She has two daughters Leila and Homa. Her studio is located in Brighton MA.