Houri Bidad, internal manager of Aydin Aghdashloo's classes and new doubts in the New York Times report. Houri Bidad after Solmaz Naraghi and Elnaz Mohammadi is the third woman that challenges NYT title about Aghdashloo which is: a wave of allegations of sexual abuse against Aydin Aghdashloo.
Since Houri Bidad's first day of being an administrator of Aydin Aghdashloo, 25 years passes and she mentioned all these years all his students know that no one has been managing his classes except Mr. Aghdashloo himself. Ms. Bidad mentioned a couple of interesting things from Aghdashloo's classes that might be new to our readers and followers to know him better, while refuting some claims of the October 22nd report on the New York Times about him.
Tell us about how you entered Aghdashloo's class!
In the year 1982 with a passion to learn paintings, I enrolled in Aghdashloo's class, year after year I became more passionate about painting. For sure his methodology of teaching was the key to keep me in line until painting became my job as well. I've learned all technics and methods, after learning steps I tried to create my own way of speaking on canvas, a couple of group and solo exhibitions since 1996 directed me until the current in this chapter of art, Bidad said.
How did you get this job? Being his administrator…
At that time, each class had an observer together with an assistant. In 1980 his classes started to be more popular and he became so busy, observers couldn't catch up with many students, meanwhile, all senior students and assistances suggested me to master Aghdashloo to be in charge of enrolments, accounting works, scheduling classes, meeting appointments, etc. and I became a full-time administrator until last day of his classes.
Since when Aghdashloo established his classes to teach? Since when did get in his circle?
As I know he started to teach painting in 1970, and I became his student in 1982 as I said earlier.
Until when did you collaborate with him?
Until 2016 his classes were open, and I was with him until its last day of teaching.
Tell us about how was dealing with office works, how many days a week you were there, and all this kind of information for our reader…
Full time, four days a week, morning to evening. It was my daily routine until the last day, however recently he was suffering from backache also in terms of his busy projects, classes became lesser than before… like one day a week. Anyone who has seen Master Aghdashloo knows that he is kind and gentle, naturally, He strongly recommended creating a good and suitable environment for children and students. In addition to teaching the techniques, the students also used the art history class, which had a great impact on mental development and creativity. Even during class, every question and conversation with him became a discussion and art education, especially contemporary art, and everyone enjoyed and used his knowledge.
What is your opinion on recent rumors about Mr. Aghdashloo's inappropriate behavior toward his female students?
In all the thirty years that I have been his student and for almost a quarter of a century that I have run the class, I have seen nothing but respect, love, kindness, and generosity from him. This very long time leaves no doubt for this expression of my opinion; These classes have been held for many years, its important position and the incredible number of male and female students, a remarkable number of art lovers, shows the quality and success of the classes. The great regret of artists and art lovers for the closure of this class shows its reputation and credibility. If even one of these rumors were true, it would never last for so many years with pride. If this class had a problem, why were three decades one of the busiest and most popular painting classes in Iran? Why was it so fruitful and so many first-rate artists and painters dedicated their art to Iran from his center? Why hasn't anyone been upset all these years?
The New York Times reports says:
"One of Mr. Aghdashloo's teaching assistants, who helped him manage the painting workshops for 12 years, said: he had witnessed his mistreatment of female students many times and that some students had complained to him, so he left."Do you know this person because he has been managing painting workshops there for 12 years?
There was never a manager in the classroom other than me. I was surprised to read such a phrase in the New York Times, Because we did not have such a person at all, All students in that class are witnesses everything was under my control; At the same time, Every session, one of the old students who had become a good painter came to help in class, and one who had been there for 12 years had no outside presence. I want to emphasize this point; during all this time, I have not heard any of these rumors and accusations attributed to the master these days, especially about women. Incidentally, what has made me more and more respected and interested is that: I have not heard or seen anyone leave our classroom due to disrespect, discord and violence.
In the same report, there is a point which says: Among the students of Mr. Aghdashloo, were the daughter of the Friday prayer leader of Tehran and the grandchildren of one of the founder of the Islamic Revolution. Did you know that? And were the children of the officials of the system his disciples?
I did not realize that we had a student or students from the children of government officials. Many students came, Thousands of students from different levels, we did not ask whose grandchildren are you? Did their family relationship matter? I have never seen anyone in the master's class have a special privilege. He respected everyone and devoted all his time and energy to teaching art.
Did you receive personally, any complaint from a female student among all students, all these years about master's behavior?
Never ever from no one!
Usually, how was his relationship with students? Specifically with female students…
He was always very polite and loving and very cheerful. Softened the atmosphere; It is common for all classes to be crowded without teachers, and with the arrival of the teacher, everyone becomes quiet, but our class was the opposite. With the arrival of Master Aghdashloo, the class became excited and out of depression. His behavior with men and women was not different, everyone was the same for him.
How many students he had all these years? Can you deliver a number?
If I say from the beginning of the class, I would say that more than a few thousand students, even those who did not want to pursue painting seriously but were art students or wanted to be more aware of art, registered for some time because of Aghdashloo's knowledge and positive reputation. The class always had more than thirty and sometimes about fifty students. Add to this a large number of other artists and students who came each time to consult with the professor about art history, dissertation writing, work style, and more, without registration. The Master spent hours for them and did not hesitate to help.
Please mention a couple of his students who are well-known artists at the moment…
This is a long list. Dozens of artists and painters who are well-known figures today. In 2007, through an exhibition, the most famous of them came together, which became a book for itself called 60s Students. About thirty of them were introduced with sample work in that book, artists like Khosrow Hassanzadeh, Shideh Tami, Abdi Esbaghi, Farideh Jahangir, Hooman Mortazavi, Iraj Shafei, Shohreh Mehran, Sasan Nasiri, Mohammad Hamzeh, Shahrokh Ghiasi, Shahrokh Foroutanian, Firoozeh Nazari, Parvin Ghaffari, Shokoofeh Jafari, Mohammad Reza Lahiji.
From the 70s: Shadi Company, Amir Sanjabi, Khashayar Shahrokhi, Mehrdad Rakhaviyeh, Hengameh Abedin, Ali Rahimi, Minou Ghahremani, Sousan Hashemiyan and many more names which I don't remember yet but they are well-received respect artists in Iran and overseas.