The phenomenon of "Graffiti as an Art" did not exist in Iran till the recent millennium.
However, there were few artists who brought it to the Iranian streets. Obviously it was not exactly the well-received thing by the authorities. This specific work called “The Law is Banned” or (قانون قدغن) is the first ever graffiti in Tehran that delivered in Farsi language. The date of this work goes back to 2002.
This is located in the west of Tehran. There is wall between Shahrak Apadana and Ekbatan and this work was done there. It was next to Tehran – Karaj Highway and had more than million views per day.
This short video shows the graffitis in early 00s at Shahrak Apadana and Ekbatan:
Back then graffiti was an unknown issue to the public and Ck1 Keyvan Shovir who only was 17 years old was the first person who introduced it to the people of Tehran. After that graffiti as an art was presented in galleries.
One of the galleries which took initiative to introduce street arts was Mehrva gallery. They started to present graffiti artists in a group show.
And Keyvan Shovir was the first Graffiti artist that his works and his name got exposed across on the world stage and mainstream media. He was still a teenage when his works shown in “Arte TV” channel along with few well-known artists like Shirin Neshat as “talented young artist”.
The article below shows a report on that.
Also Ck1 Keyvan Shovir built the first graffiti crew in Tehran. The band which was active under the signature of “Street Rats” delivered many works for three years in the West and North West part of Tehran. The idea was to give inspiration to the younger generation of artists and helping them to develop street art in Tehran and other Iranian major cities like Tabriz.
This video also shows the first footage of graffiti in the streets of Tehran:
Ck1 Keyvan Shovir moved to Tabriz to attend university there. Historically, Tabriz is considered a culturally Conservative place in Iran. However, he continued his works in Tabriz. It is said this is one of the reasons that street arts developed in Tabriz. It was a city where street art was introduced from the university and its students to the masses in City.
There is another video of his works on Tehran and Tabriz that you can watch here:
Keyvan holds a BA in Painting from University of Tabriz. That helped him to study and research more in Persian Traditional Art and History. That inspired him to combine elements of Iranian traditional art and calligraphy with the street art realm. That was very unique and new back then.
Let’s go back to where we start. “The Law is Banned” only survived on Tehran’s streets for a short period of time (for obvious reasons). But it remains an iconic element in Iranian street arts. There is a hip-hop song in Farsi about underground life in Tehran. It has a very “thug life” theme. “The Law is Banned” art gets a mention here. If you understand Farsi, please hit the Play button.