Some artworks may promote social and democratic values while others promote non-democratic tenets. Besides, there are a great number of artworks that remain silent and neutral to any social and democratic principles. The literature on the relationship between democracy and art is mostly about the possible contribution of arts to democratic values, ignoring the role of neutral artworks and their confirmation of conservative stands of the state. Naghshi-khat (Iranian Calligram) is a good example of neutral artworks to democracy. Being formal, abstract and decorative, this artistic genre replaces the seemingly valid picture of the governments’ ideology with people’s lives through national symbolism and poetic approach. It enjoys governmental support and good sales in the art market mainly at the expense of remaining ignorant to the repression imposed by the government. Neutral artworks dismiss any figure, content or signifier that may refer to political or social elements, disarming any meta-analysis. Such artworks escape to abstraction, poetic, decorative and symbolic elements to avoid any friction with harsh reality of society including censorship and repression.
Keywords: Naghashi-khat, Democracy, Non-democratic, Artworks, Iran
To be Published in International Aesthetics Association Yearbook 2019