The Blind Owl is Sadegh Hedayat’s magnum opus and major literary work of 20th-century Iran. Written in Persian, it is narrated by an unnamed pen case painter, who addresses his murderous confessions to a shadow on his wall that resembles an owl. His confessions do not follow a linear progression of events and often repeat and layer themselves thematically, thus lending to the open-ended nature of the interpretation of the story.
The novel tells the story of an unnamed pen case painter, who, while in despair after losing a mysterious lover, addresses his morbid confessions to a shadow on his wall that looks like an owl. He sees in his macabre, feverish nightmares that “the presence of death annihilates all that is imaginary”. Death hangs over the narrator, who claims that “[w]e are the offspring of death and death delivers us from the tantalizing, fraudulent attractions of life” and that, “[t]hroughout our lives, the finger of death points at us.” The novel is in two parts. The first is a surrealist, dreamlike narrative of the opium-addicted narrator, the woman he both loves and loathes, and a cackling, turban-wearing old man. The second part retells that story in a more realistic tone, and includes details that appear to contradict the first part.
Like the rest of the paintings in this collection, the process begins with a close reading of the book. I make a list of all the images that stand out as I read the book and then begin drawing every single one of these images. Then I make a rough sketch of how I want these images to be put together.
I sometimes make these images from scratch and sometimes adopt the works of other artists. Then I begin putting them together, rearranging them over and over until I reach the right composition. The next step is the most satisfying and time-consuming of all. I color the drawings with a magic marker, DOT by DOT. I take it slow because if I rush it, the paint would not be as clean and unified.