In her works, Farideh Lashai has continuously explored themes of nature, but as the artist describes herself she does not paint the nature, but paints by nature. Nature and trees are formal excuses for her to capture an inner fleeting sense, to arrest a moment. "Further artistic affiliations may be demonstrated in Lashai's use of skewed calligraphic characters and figurative elements resembling nature. These strongly recall the decomposed characters and informal elements of American Abstract Expressionists such as Jackson Pollock, Hans Hartung and Mark Tobey. Lashai's work is largely based on a continuous dynamism; a gestured act of painting employs electrified lines and strokes that contribute to an informal quality."
In her more recent works from the past ten years she has employed video projection on her canvas paintings as her new medium. The artist explains that the video helps expand the painting as an elastic structure in time, material and space. It creates a space for articulating the hidden narratives in her painting. It is also a bridge for her between painting and theater as one of the mediums that the artist practiced under the auspices of Bertoldt Brecht in East Germany.
In the current work that was created in the heat of the Arab spring and the Egyptian revolt, Chaplin appears in a scene of The Great Dictator. The face of Um Kalthoum, the Grande Dame of Arab music rises on top of the painting, majestic as a moon with her renowned emerald earrings hanging. The eyes of the singer are closed, as if she is ignoring the minuscule dictator under her watch dancing in excitement to the tune of her song "El Amal", meaning hope, desire. The desire of Chaplin playing Hitler is different to what the singer is preaching. He has the desire to devour the world, to make it his own, to possess it, as he plays with the globe bouncing it with his bum, touching the moon and Um Kalthoum's earring. In a final act as the music comes to an end The Great Dictator's sweet dream, the globe bursts in his hands, leaving him empty handed. The majestic face of Um Kalthoum calmly fades away, leaving a still painting behind, an abstract painting that is now charged with meaning.
The work is not a reflection on political affiliations as such, but a greater statement about art, and how is supersedes and overwhelms power. It is a commentary on power of art, its grandiose and eternal character, and how it influences identity of nations.
The work was made by using 2500 still images that were cut from The Great Dictator and animating a photograph of Um Kalthoum taken form the internet to sync her lip movement to her song "El Amal".