The Arcades series started as part of John L Tran’s 2006 PhD research into nostalgia in Japanese landscape imagery. It is now being expanded to cover sites in Europe and the United States.

‘The city writes its own script. Things are always much stranger than they seem’, wrote the London stroller and novelist Iain Sinclair (The Guardian, 14 July 2005). The written script, however, can be vocalized too as another distinctive novelist of the city John McGregor writes, ‘the city, it sings, so listen, there is more to hear’ (If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things, Bloomsbury, 2002, pp. 1-2).

As reported elsewhere the acclaimed Nepali painter Manish Harijan's exhitbition titled The Rise of Collateral in Siddhartha Art Gallery (Patan, Nepal) was charged with blasphemy by the group of World Hindu Federation activists. The author and gallerist were even threatened with death. The police, instead of providing protection, padlocked the gallery. More to that, there is actual imminence of legal action against the artist and curator.

The savage has been an image closely related to the history and representations of Latin America. This essay discusses varied artistic reinterpretations of the savage paradigm and the ideologies of domination and violence that support it. Though savagery seems to have changed forms, leaving the colonial world behind to reemerge as extreme violence often associated in Latin America with political questions, oppressive regimes, revolutionaries, and more recently drugs, the term is still deeply enmeshed with battles of dominion and representation involving many actors. The works analyzed address in either direct or veiled ways some of the convoluted relations between the so-called first and third worlds, alluding to everyday realities and imaginary ones through an extended notion of savagery.

It is perhaps a somewhat cliched statement to begin this introduction to the work of the internationally recognised Iranian artist Sadegh Tirafkan, by saying that he is very much a product of his circumstances, both on an international and an individual level, but this is clearly what informs his art. For Sadegh is the epitome of an Iranian artist whose innovative and utterly contemporary works are profoundly influenced by the legacy of his traditional Iranian heritage roots.