Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art / Arab & Iranian


Farhad Moshiri
B. 1963

oil, acrylic and glitter on canvas mounted on panel

178.4 by 158.5cm.; 70 1/4 by 62 3/8 in.
Executed in 2007.
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Daneyal Mahmood Gallery, New York
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner


New York, Daneyal Mahmood Gallery, Farhad Moshiri - 'Sweet Dreams', 2007

Catalogue Note

One of Farhad Moshiri's most striking cake-icing works to come to public auction, Born Yesterday is the perfect example of Moshiri at his most subversive and satirical.

Depicting a frothy cookie-cut-out wedding-cake in its most familiar Hollywood incarnation, Moshiri yet again compares the imported western ideal with local custom.

With its roots in Zoroastrian traditions, the Persian wedding has remained relatively unchanged from time immemorial. The wedding feast could not be more different from its western counterpart with its multi-tiered cake smothered in icing and decorated with sugar flowers. A sofreh, or spread of food, is laid out on the floor that includes a number of foodstuffs each with its own metaphysical significance. Flatbread symbolises prosperity, a tray of spices to guard against the evil eye, decorated eggs and nuts for fertility, pomegranates and apples for a joyous future – pomegranates being heavenly fruit, and apples representing the divine creation of mankind; and honey and crystallised sugar to keep the couple's life together sweet and full of happiness.

Branded with the phrase 'Born Yesterday', it is an apparent reference to the notion that youth culture looks not to its Persian roots, but rather to the western ideal that is spoon fed to them through glossy magazines, American sit-coms and Hollywood movies. The polarities of east and west are explored in this imagery. This is pop-culture at its most poppy, a confection in fluorescent colours and glitter that provides an arresting and brassy contrast to the spirituality of the Persian tradition.

Contemporary Art / Arab & Iranian