Tomorrow Persians and many neighboring cultures celebrate Nowruz, the first day of spring as well as the New Year. Traditionally a table is decorated with various items symbolizing the blessings of the New Year, health and fertility. The Canada based photographer Aryan Arian added the one symbol that was always present in spirit, but never in actuality. A healthy woman, symbolizing mother earth. (click on picture for higher quality)


When I wrote Aryan about the image I wasn’t surprised to read about the trouble it had caused. Facebook had removed the image from his profile and had suspended his account from posting or liking posts, probably after receiving complaints from cultural prudes who didn’t want their rituals associated with a (somewhat) naked figure. To them I say good luck explaining to your children the meaning of the various fertility symbols, and make sure they don’t actually read any of the poetry in the books that are often added to the Nowruz table.

I was a bit more disappointed to hear about the behavior of some who had loved the picture. Some distributed the image without crediting Aryan as the artists. Others claimed it as their own. Ah well, we’ll just add this to our long mission statement, teaching Iranian admirers of art and culture that the best way to love art is to support the artists who created it.

If you’re interested in Aryan’s work, please visit his website: