Eyewitness: Goya & Lashai

MSK is exposing the works of Spanish artist Francisco Goya (1746-1828) and modern Iranian artist Farideh Lashai (1944-2013), both sharing an indictment against violence and oppression in Eyewitness. We sent 4 of our most gifted members and our photographer Tiny to the museum to pick their favourites and make their own interpretation. What came out of it is pretty stimulating – go and have a look for yourself…!

Niloufar Nematollahi

Age: 18
Zodiac sign: leo
Website: will let you know when it’s ready
Subbacultcha member since: 2016
Photos by Tiny Geeroms

When I dress up in the morning I ask myself,
‘Could I be in a TLC or Destiny’s Child video clip?’


The work of Parastou Fourohar in the entrance hall was my favourite. The forms and colors in her work are sober but sharp —just like the social and political statements she makes. To be honest, the works of Lashai and Forouhar really touched me. The place they come from has a big influence. A bittersweetness I can relate to, as an Iranian artist and woman. It’s crazy how a country can shape your personality as much as it can also break you. These artists see the beauty of it, just as much as they feel confused and abandoned by a place they grew up in. In their work I can feel my own childhood as much that I can feel the struggles of growing up and becoming a person in a very confusing political and social situation.

I saw the works of Lashai before in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran so it was very interesting to see them a couple years later in a completely different setting. I’ve also been a fan of Forouhar’s work since I was a child because my mother has always been interested in her art and political analysis. This was the first time I got  to see her work from nearby.


I believe that in order to be able to make relevant art, you should take time to understand the art of the past. It’s a matter of being conscious of all the things that have already been made. You can enrich your own work by trying to understand the art of other places, other people and other times.

Koi Persyn

Age: 20
Zodiac sign: sagittarius
Subbacultcha member since: 2016
Photo by Tiny Geeroms

I am organizing and curating STOCK and TumultInGent


My interest for (contemporary) art was initiated by discovering following artists. I feel a strong connection with their way of thinking and working. After seeing a work of Jordan Wolfson in Institut d’Art Contemporain (IAC) in Villeurbanne, the exhibition of Michael Dean in De Appel in Amsterdam and the exhibition of Rachel Harrison in S.M.A.K. in Ghent, I decided to dedicate my studies to art. These moments have left a strong impression on my view on art. The scenography of these expos are still present in my memory.

I was really curious about the connection between Francisco Goya and the two Iranian artists, Farideh Lashai and Parastou Forouhar. I have several Iranian friends, which made me understand the artworks in the exhibition even a little bit more. They were raised in a confusing political situation, very similar to the background of Goya. Goya was the enfant terrible of his time, what makes him still relevant for contemporary artists. I am very glad that the MSK was able to collect this amount of original works of Goya.

MSK reminds me of De Liggende Boer, a beautiful charcoal drawing made by Constant Permeke. MSK was one of the first museums I visited as a child.


My favourite work was the etching depicting a monkey painting a portrait of a donkey. It is called Ni Mas Ni Menos, meaning Neither More Nor Less. A monkey painting a donkey speaks for itself, I suppose. I think Goya was very conscious about his position as an artist. Maybe that’s why he is mocking the status of the artist as a political determined slave.

Goya was one of the founders of the autonomous drawing. He combines his frustrations for the political situation with a fine-tuned sense of humour in a very subtle way. He is an icon. I am very into icons. I am working on a personal iconography, so everything related to tradition and rituals gives me input.  My work refers to the ancient Greek religions and tragedies as well to the contemporary, consumption-based fashion advertising. Walking in the streets (especially at night) inspires me a lot. For instance, the urban landscape with its colours, forms and textures or the presence of advertising billboards. I am collecting found or second-hand materials, that’s the reason why my atelier looks like a post-war scenography in pink, blue and yellow.

Gabriela Gonzalez

Age: 30
Zodiac sign: Leo
Subbacultcha member since: 2014
Photo by Mr Miyagi (the dog)

I am a bookseller, video fiddler & magazine editor for a very obscure publication


I remember studying Goya in college – our 19th century art teacher had to apologize at some point because we were spending a disproportionate amount of time on Goya when we still had Courbet’s Origin of the World to be uncomfortable about. I’ve never seen any of his work on display and was pleased to find that one of the highlights was Los Caprichos as I can’t imagine absorbing the breadth of the series in any setting that doesn’t invite you to take your time with it.

Goya was an honest observer of his time, clearly someone who had a deep understanding of humanity and its failings. He could see through the frills and churn out his own interpretations of society that nailed it in a completely unprecedented way. There’s a definite weirdness to them and surprising outbursts of humor, which make his work all the more compelling considering these themes of human depravity and tragedy that were often treated. I’m also very touched at how he still found the means to represent his own misgivings through his art, like with the demented murals he made in his house towards the end of his life – in no way did he try to gloss over his pain at any moment, and that takes some serious introspection and courage.

When I look at my own work, I like to consider spontaneity, associations, the liminal state of things —whatever happens between the dream world and this plane, whatever surprises come through, and the symbolism that emanates from within. I never know what the results will be when I start making something, except that there will probably be a disembodied head somewhere.

Illustration of Proclamación de brujas by Gabriela

Elise Dupré

Age: 23
Zodiac sign: Scorpio
Subbacultcha member since: 2014
Photo by Siemen Gijbels

I’m currently spending my days interning at a publishing house, working weekend jobs and studying art history

E Subba

I’ve visited the Eyewitness expo twice (so far). I didn’t know Farideh Lashai’s work but it complements Goya’s drawings extremely well and vice versa. I think Goya’s work is very easy to be inspired by. It easily makes an impact. I remember I couldn’t handle it as a kid. One thing I like is its abundance: the apparent absence of editing, the continuous stream of images.

There was a drawing of two girls with chairs on their heads with the title Ya tienen asiento, which translates into ‘now they have a seat’. I’m always drawn to women in artworks. This one girl is standing proudly in the center, claiming attention. Also, I have a recurring dream of women balancing chairs on their heads so it feels very familiar.

Obviously it’s an amazing opportunity to have that many pieces this close to home. The MSK permanent collection is so pretty, it feels so familiar I almost consider it my own.

Eyewitness: Francisco Goya & Farideh Lashai is currently exhibiting at MSK, Ghent. The expo is free for members during the month of April.
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