“Every now and then I love to travel to Hormuz (Iran). This island forms a large contrast with my hometown: Tehran, the capital of Iran. On Hormuz, people live a simple life in houses of clay and cement. They might be very poor, but they dress extraordinary. Women wear shiny pants, patterned chadors and decorated masks. Just as the people, the deserted landscapes of the island are full of colour. The soil is so bright that paint can be made of it. A lot of Iranians are ignorant of their own culture. They prefer to travel in Western countries and many of them even decide to immigrate. This is of course understandable, given the current political circumstances. Yet, it also makes me sad. If everyone leaves, who is left to change the country for the better? As a starting artist, I am very much aware of the limitations of expression in my country. I am not allowed to draw nudes or to use religious symbols in an unconventional way. Nevertheless, I deliberately chose to stay because I have hope for Iran. There are so many beautiful sides of our country that are now overshadowed by negative attention. Take for instance Hormuz! I would love to have my studio here one day.”