Anahita, could you tell us about yourself?
I have Austrian and Iranian nationality and Kurdish ethnicity. I was born in Tehran, grew up in Austria, used to live in London and now live in Paris. I’ve always been immersed in this dual culture, which is something that is very important to me, and which I am very proud of. The roots of my given name go back to Persian mythology, where Anahita was the goddess of fertility and beauty. I started out working in fashion, then switched to advertising. I’m passionate about in art in general and artists in particular. I launched Anahita’s Eye magazine over a year ago.
What is the concept behind your online magazine, Anahita’s Eye?
The idea of Anahita’s Eye magazine is to share the things that I discover, and my perspective on fields as varied a design, drawings, painting, music, fashion and photography. I do this via portraits of artists whom I admire and whose work, talent and artistic creativity I want to show off. Each month, I publish and interview with an artist as well as a photo reportage focusing on their works and their world. The articles are available in English, French, and German to reach as many readers as possible on a global scale.
What message do you want to convey and develop in relation to your subjects and your meetings with them?
I really want to create new artistic links between emerging artists from all kinds of backgrounds, as well as different labels so that we can develop collaborative art and events as well as providing bespoke advice in terms of artistic direction. Many artists have already been contacted after appearing in Anahita’s Eye, which has led to commissions and requests to work together. I would like the magazine to become a reference point in terms of artistic and cultural vision. So that it becomes a genuine space where artists can have a dialog together.
How do you choose who appears in the magazine?
I generally follow my heart, selecting creatives whose work means something to me initially, and then I whom I want to meet to learn more about their personality and vision. Sometimes these encounters come about by chance when I travel or when I go out at night. As the magazine has a higher profile now, I am also approached directly. Incidentally, I was invited to Teer Art Week in Tehran by the gallery owner and curator, Hormoz Hematian, who organises the event with Maryam Majd. It is a week that’s dedicated to contemporary Iranian art and which takes place all over the city, in galleries with incredible locations, studios of hugely talented artists working at an incredible level. All these encounters will appear in a magazine article very soon. I love talking to people generally. Listening to them talk about their ideas, their life stories, their feelings, learning who they really are.
What inspires you on a day-to-day basis?
A look. A fragrance. A place. A picture. A piece of music. A book. A word.
What is the story behind your furniture?
Each piece of furniture, each rug and picture in my home is linked to a personal story. The rugs represent different phases in my life. One was a gift from my grandfather for my birth; others came from our house in Tehran before the revolution or my years as a student in Vienna. They’ve followed me every time I’ve moved and I am enormously attached to them on an emotional level. They are full of highly personal memories. All the furniture is vintage and has been picked up when travelling or from flea markets. The two grey Maralunga chairs are period originals, created by Vico Magistretti for Cassina. I first saw them in Brussels when I was walking through the flea market district. Their design grabbed me and I was able to buy them afterwards. I found the Willy Rizzo coffee table on leboncoin classifieds. I like its design and its very 70s elegance with its concealed inner bar. Then there’s this old Swedish chair in the vinyl collection, which I found in a local record shop by chance. I can’t bring myself to buy new; I’m all about recycling! I like the drawing of a naked woman in the bedroom. It was a gift from my Israeli painter friend, Gideon Rubin, who is a rising star on the art scene and who is represented by Galerie Karsten Greve in Paris. I find his work immensely moving. Last year, I bought a drawing by another incredible talent, the Iranian artist, Amin Montazeri, from the Dastan Gallery in Tehran. I also fell really hard for the mysterious work of the Iranian photographer, Morteza Niknahad, who lives in southern Iran. Finally, the stag;s antlers on the wall in the hall come from Austria and remind me of my childhood, when I lived for a while in a house that had antlers all over the walls. It was very rustic.
How do you indulge your passions as a family?
My husband is passionate about music and collects records. We have an old Seeburg jukebox and 4,000 vinyl records that cover one wall. We try to listen to them all on the weekend. He has managed to hand this passion down to our children. Personally, I’m passionate about books, art, and vintage clothing that I pick up all over the place. Travel is a really important part of my life, I’d even say essential to me, because it enables us to discover new cultures and worlds.
Could you give us some tips for places to go in your neighbourhood?
The Museum of Romantic Life, a unique destination that defies its era. I love its tea room with its garden and its delicious home-made cakes. Le Paprika, the Austro-Hungarian restaurant on Avenue Trudaine, when I want a good Wiener Schnitzel and perfectly cooked palacsinta pancakes just like you get in Austria. Le Louxor cinema, for its neo-Egyptian style and the films that it shows.
And for furniture, clothes?
My husband is passionate about music. We have an old Seeburg jukebox and 4,000 vinyl records that cover one wall.
Photography: Constance Gennari – Text: Caroline Balvay – Translation: TextMaster @thesocialitefamily