A celebration of Persian voices and talent

Dance of the Lake and the Island: Paintings by Samira Ashari

Art & Photography

Dance of the Lake
and the Island: Paintings

by Samira Ashari
“The smallest island of Lake Urmia—Osman Yomrooghi or Fist Osman—arises from the heart of the lake like a closed hand reaching to the sky.”

Dance of the Lake and the Island: Paintings
by Samira Ashari

Osman Fist Island in the Past Surrounded by the Lake by Samira Ashari
Osman Fist Island in the Past Surrounded by the Lake © Samira Ashari

Artist statement

A unique lake in the heart of Iran

L ake Urmia is the largest inland lake in Iran located between the provinces of East Azerbaijan and West Azerbaijan, west of the southern portion of the Caspian Sea. It was once the largest lake in the Middle East and the sixth-largest saltwater lake on Earth.

Lake Urmia National Park—internationally registered as a protected area by UNESCO—offers exceptional biodiversity including microscopic, fauna and fossils, and an additional 226 species of birds, 27 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 24 species of mammals. There are 102 small rocky islands in the lake itself, creating a stopping place for a wide range of migratory birds. Due to its excessive salinity, no fish can live in Lake Urmia, though it is one of the most important habitats for Artemia.

The smallest island of Lake Urmia—Osman Yomrooghi or Fist Osman—arises from the heart of the lake like a closed hand reaching to the sky. It is the smallest island in the world and is the only inhabited island of Lake Urmia. The limestone island of Fist is considered a wonder of nature and creation, home to a diversity of avians such as white pelicans, flamingos and other migratory birds that create unique landscapes with their beautiful flight patterns. The view of the mountains around the island reflects like a mirror in Lake Urmia, and the salt crystals in the water resemble white snow. Undoubtedly, with the revitalization of Lake Urmia, the beauty of Fist Osman Island will be enhanced, allowing tourists the opportunity to visit the area by boat and appreciate the rare beauties of the island and its birds.

Lake Urmia’s large and small islands, salt beaches, beautiful cliffs, and unique wildlife offer a singular view and experience for those lucky enough to see them. As a resident of the area and an artist, I’m endlessly inspired by this incredible habitat.

Osman Fist Island in the Present Time Surrounded by Salt by Samira Ashari
Osman Fist Island in the Present Time Surrounded by Salt © Samira Ashari
The Dominance of Salt Over the Sea and the Capture of the Lake by Salt in the Present Era by Samira Ashari
The Dominance of Salt Over the Sea and the Capture of the Lake by Salt in the Present Era © Samira Ashari
Revitalization of the Lake by Samira Ashari
Revitalization of the Lake © Samira Ashari
Immersion of the Island in Lake Water by Samira Ashari
Immersion of the Island in Lake Water © Samira Ashari
Lake Overcomes Salt and Makes Everywhere Blue by Samira Ashari
Lake Overcomes Salt and Makes Everywhere Blue © Samira Ashari
Dance of Lake and Island by Samira Ashari
Dance of Lake and Island © Samira Ashari

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Samira Ashari

Samira (Narmin) Ashari is an Iranian-Kurdish artist born in Naghadeh, Iran who now lives in Urmia. A passionate artist since childhood, she has earned a number of graduate degrees in graphic design and visual arts, is currently a PhD student in industrial design, and teaches at Tabriz Islamic Art University. Samira’s work has been featured in three solo exhibitions and ten group exhibitions, with one of her posters selected as one of the top artistic works in the Society and Me Festival in West Azerbaijan Province. Seventeen of her pieces have been registered in the National Library of Tehran, as well as published in three books. She has also conducted several university workshops. Follow her on Instagram @samira ashari.