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Reza Shafahi

The Diary of a Gambler by Reza Shafahi

The Diary of a Gambler by Reza Shafahi

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Reza Shafahi’s story is a perfect testament to the age-old saying, ‘It’s never too late to try’. Born in Saveh, Iran, in 1940, Reza’s artistic career began when he was in his 70s. He was formerly a successful wrestler and, once that came to its natural end, he fell into a gambling addiction. Reza spent decades in debt, leading to him isolating himself from friends and family for years. In 2012, Reza’s son, who grew up without a present father, reached out to try and connect with Reza in a new way. He suggested they participate in a daily drawing exercise; the idea was for Reza to go first and create an initial drawing, and for Mamali to respond to it with his own sculpture, to see if there was some kind of genetic link between the two works. In short, there was.

For the first time, a generous selection of Reza’s works are collected within a stand-alone volume, celebrating the full scope of his artistic practice.The Diary of a Gambler features a selection of art curated by Mamali and by Tony Cox, owner and founder of Club Rhubarb in New York City, where Reza had his first solo show in 2019.

Apartamento magazine first told Reza’s captivating story in issue #29, and Reza Shafahi, the Diary of a Gambler is punctuated by a first-person reimagining of Khayyer’s original interview. Classic poems by Rumi, Khayyam, Saadi, and the more modern Forough Farrokhzad—clear influences on Reza’s vibrant and sensual creations—are presented here in Farsi and in English translation. Contributions by Mamali, Cox, Michael Bullock, and Martha Kirszenbaum lend further context to Reza’s artistic journey, into a world that, as Kirszenbaum notes, shines with ‘a touch of glow and softness.’

  • Published by Apartamento
  • First edition
  • Dimensions: 297 x 215mm
  • 192 pages
  • Softcover book
Reza Shafahi’s story is a perfect testament to the age-old saying, ‘It’s never too late to try’. Born in Saveh, Iran, in 1940, Reza’s artistic career began when he was in his 70s. He was formerly a successful wrestler and, once that came to its natural end, he fell into a gambling addiction. Reza spent decades in debt, leading to him isolating himself from friends and family for years. In 2012, Reza’s son, who grew up without a present father, reached out to try and connect with Reza in a new way. He suggested they participate in a daily drawing exercise; the idea was for Reza to go first and create an initial drawing, and for Mamali to respond to it with his own sculpture, to see if there was some kind of genetic link between the two works. In short, there was.

For the first time, a generous selection of Reza’s works are collected within a stand-alone volume, celebrating the full scope of his artistic practice.The Diary of a Gambler features a selection of art curated by Mamali and by Tony Cox, owner and founder of Club Rhubarb in New York City, where Reza had his first solo show in 2019.

Apartamento magazine first told Reza’s captivating story in issue #29, and Reza Shafahi, the Diary of a Gambler is punctuated by a first-person reimagining of Khayyer’s original interview. Classic poems by Rumi, Khayyam, Saadi, and the more modern Forough Farrokhzad—clear influences on Reza’s vibrant and sensual creations—are presented here in Farsi and in English translation. Contributions by Mamali, Cox, Michael Bullock, and Martha Kirszenbaum lend further context to Reza’s artistic journey, into a world that, as Kirszenbaum notes, shines with ‘a touch of glow and softness.’

  • Published by Apartamento
  • First edition
  • Dimensions: 297 x 215mm
  • 192 pages
  • Softcover book