Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Interview with an Australian cartoonist about Esfahan
In this post you can read my interview with Joanne Brooker ,a famous cartoonist from Australia, traveled to Isfahan some months ago to show her art in a gallery in Tehran. This interview was published in one of the best Esfahanian weekly magazine, Shahrvandemrooz.
Joanne Brooker is recognised as one of Australia's top media artists. During 10 years full-time as The Courier-Mail's head illustrator, Joanne was awarded some of Australia's highest media art awards. She has had her art exhibited all around Australia as well as the United Kingdom and Europe. Her fascination for her craft has encouraged her to share her talents and experience in many workshops that are in high demand all over Australia.After studding Commercial Art at the Queensland College of Art Joanne joined Queensland Newspapers as an editorial illustrator. Under the name, Applegate, Joanne created artwork for News Ltd for ten years. Her artwork covered realistic, symbolic, cartoon,computer graphics specializing in caricature. Joanne is recognized in the industry as one of Australia‚s leading media artists. In 2001 she left Queensland Newspapers to travel the world. Returning in 2002, Joanne continued traveling and working throughout China and Australia as a Caricaturist and Art Teacher.Joanne's dedication to her craft saw her undertake a solo journey to Iran during the Danish cartoon protests in order to understand the power of political cartoon from within a Muslim country.Joanne has been exhibited in Barcelona, Iran, Scotland, France, China and all over Australia. Joanne has been published worldwide as an artist and writer. Joanne is an award winning professional media artist that understands the creative process of art and its application.
1-What did you feel when you see Isfahan for the first time?I was excited to see the place described as half of the world! I was reading my travel book every day in anticipation of the wonders I would see and I was not disappointed when I arrived in Isfahan.2- What did you think about Isfahan before coming here? And what was a real Isfahan?I had read about the famous mosques in Isfahan but I had no idea of the layout or feel of Isfahan. I noticed far more women were wearing the chador than in Tehran so I expected this was a very holy place. Isfahan was filled with people shopping for the new year which I enjoyed. I was able to wander and mix with ordinary people out shopping as we do at home.3-Why did you choose Isfahan in your short journey to Iran?I wanted to see one for the most famous Islamic cities in the world and especially to visit Emam Khomeini Square. I was so thrilled to be able to wander alone around the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque taking in its splendors. I was filled with the feeling of great age, holiness and beauty within the mosque. It is far more wondrous than any other religious building I have ever visited.4- What did surprise you in Isfahan?I was surprised at how friendly the people are. I was invited to lunch with a family and we had a great afternoon chatting about our countries. I was invited into a bakery to meet and take photos of the bakers. I was surprised at the size of the Emam Khomeini Square . I loved that it was filled with so many people all enjoying themselves.5-If you were the Mayor of Isfahan what would you do for this city and its inhabitant and especially for the tourists who travel to this city?I would offer them easy to read maps and easy ways for them to access transport to the different areas around Isfahan. It would have been wonderful to have a guide for the day to tell me more about the sights around isfahan. It can be difficult for shy tourists to speak to people they don’t know for fear of appearing rude or ignorant. I would also encourage visitors to see the art galleries that are of an excellent standard.6- If you want to count your favorite cities what would be the rank of Isfahan?I have traveled to Paris, London, Bangkok, Hanoi, Singapore, Sydney, Katmandu and so many other cities. Isfahan has an energy and liveliness that ranks it highly with all of these cities. Isfahan is unique in it's history, culture and openness.7-If one of your friends wants to travel to Isfahan what would you suggest him or her?I would suggest spending a lazy day wandering the streets taking in the sights, chatting to people, putting aside a day to wander the magnificent Emem Khomeiini Square. I would tell them to take a day to spend buying a carpet, not only to purchase one, but to als enjoy learning about the value and history of this art form.8-How would you describe Isfahan to your Australian friends?I describe Isfahan as one of the loveliest place I have been to in the world. That I felt safe and cared for there. I would also tell them to be very very careful crossing the road!9-What is the most interesting thing you see in Isfahan? And what was odd for you?The most interesting experience was standing under the dome of the Emem mosque and clapping my hands as I had seen on a travel program at home. That was exciting for me to finally be in the place I had only dreamed of from a TV program in my Australian living room. It was odd for me to see young girls wearing the chador and looking so elegant in them. I admired their ability to wear them so gracefully, which I cant manage. I tripped up on mine!10-Could you tell us your best experience (or memory) during your journey in Isfahan?I was met by two young cartoonists who took me to the art gallery to see an exhibition of Cartoon and Caricature artwork. They had put up a banner welcoming me which I was not expecting. The standard of artwork was superb and I was greatly impressed. I have stayed in touch with these artists over the internet since returning home and they have often asked me to return and enjoy their city again.
11-Did you have any bad experience or awful memory about your journey to Isfahan?I foolishly wandered into a bazaar with my expensive camera. I was surrounded by people who tugged my clothing and yelled at me. I left very quickly as I think I was being told that it wasnt a good idea to take somehting so expensive into a poor area. It was my own fault.12-Did you buy any thing from Isfahan for yourself or your friends? whatwas their reaction ?what is your opinion about the handicrafts of Isfahan ?I bought some jewelry for my daughters as I was traveling and couldn’t get anything too large to carry. They wear the jewelry all the time when I was a little girl I read the story The Arabian Nights about geniis and great treasures. In Isfahan I felt that my story book pictures had come to life.13-If you want to suggest one of your friends who want to travel to Isfahan to buy some thing precious, what would it be?Of course I would suggest a carpet. I would suggest spending a great deal of time with sellers and to enjoy the experience. Buying a carpet is not like at home; it is an education in Persian art and history.14-What`s your opinion about Isfahanian food?The food is very healthy. I like rice and fresh food. I like coffee and tea very much but I am not fond of sweet drinks.15- What’s your opinion about Isfahanian youth?Isfahanian girls and boys? Isfahanian people?Such good looking people! The girls are so elegant with tiny hands and large lovely eyes. The boys are like at home, fashionable and confident, looking handsome for the girls! I was treated so well in Isfahan and I felt it was always ok for me to speak to people which is not always the case in many cities.16-How many days did you stay in Isfahan?I was so sad to leave after only three days. It was not long enough and there was so much more for me to see.17-If there is something that I should ask you but I don’t, please ask ityourself and answer it yourself too!I would like to return to Isfahan one day. Until I have that chance again I hope to stay in touch with the good friends I made there so I can visit them again.


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