Works by six UK-based Iranian artists: Koushna Navabi, Nooshin Farhid, Alinah Azadeh, Neda Dana-Haeri, Andrew Khosravani, Maral Pourkazemi.
An exhibition curated by Fari Bradley.
What are Iranian artists making in Britain today?
In this group show the works elicit alternatives to traditional perceptions by presenting a sceptical prism through which to view the narrowness of binary thinking. Each piece seeks truth across a designated divide, for example between the personal and the global, who we are and who we might be or between here and another place.
Despite railing against binary awareness, which is arguably a social state we are universally born into, it is this very narrowness that causes a very necessary tension in our lives – a vicissitude which moves us to seek to define who we are, whether as individuals or as a society.
These artists, regardless of where they are from, by exploring the auto-didactic journey towards self-fulfilment within and without oneself contribute to a universal becoming in which we all play a part.
The exhibition title stems from John Berger’s statement in Ways of Seeing that Rembrandt’s style, in a self-portrait of himself and his new wife ‘is no more than the style of a new performer playing a traditional role’ and relates to the cataclysms around Iranian art viewed abroad. For too long ideas of Iran and the diaspora have been tainted by pre-conceived assumptions fed by media. A common dialectic for example is: are other countries able to fully appreciate that Iranian art can make religious references in a secular, merely cultural context? Another is, does a desire for freedom from tradition or religion in Iran and the region necessarily mean the alternative is Western ideology?
With this in mind, we examine what Iranian artists in Britain are making today in an exhibition that seeks to pursue and manage perceptions – of our own as we seek answers, and of those who behold us as we seek.
About the artists:
Koushna Navabi. Born in Iran, working in London Navabi is a mixed media artist using a variety of fascinating mediums. She has exhibited widely in UK and internationally in group and solo shows. Her work explores the complex relationships between east and west, and corporeal politics.
Nooshin Farhid. Born in Iran, Farhid lives and works in London from where she has shown widely both nationally and internationally. Primarily concerned with moving image in the form of single screen works, installations, interventions and animation she is also working to great impact with still photography and text.
Alinah Azadeh. Born in the UK, a British-Iranian artist working across disciplines and contexts. She uses live encounters, sculpture, digital data, textile and text to create spaces for human exchange and personal self-reflection in response to themes of human experience. Large scale public commissions include The Bibliomancer’s Dream (2009, Southbank Centre), The Gifts (2010, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery), Portraits of the Unseen (2010 The National Portrait Gallery) London. Current project: Burning the Books a live encounter work collaborating with debtors and creditors everywhere, Hangzhou Triennial of Fiber Art, China, Autumn 2013.
Neda Dana-Haeri. Born in Iran and working in London, Dana-Haeri has been a curator and fine artist for over a decade. Having graduated under Bob and Roberta Smith she has taken part in many group shows. Dana-Haeri creates fine, abstract print and painted canvas works that look at contemporary concerns from a deeply philosophical and poetic angle.
Andrew Khosravani. Born in London where he still lives Khosravani is an illustrator, animator and designer. A young and recent art graduate he creates involved, imposing prints in coloured pencil and mixed material with a tendency to abstraction of subject matter presented as recognisable forms.
Maral Pourkazemi. Born in Germany, Pourkazemi is based in London where she creates works of design that demonstrate an intricate thought process around human values. We show her large panels on the censorship of the Iranian internet that feature intriguing designs based on the traditional geometry found in Persian carpets.
About the curator:
Fari Bradley is an Iranian arts reviewer, writer and sound artist based in London. Previous curation include Frieze art fair London (video work), Art Dubai Projects (sound work) and curation for various cross-over venues (fine art). Art showcases and review include The Centre for Possible Studies (Serpentine Gallery), BBC3, BBCR4, Nour Festival, UK, Iranian Film Festival and BBC London. Bradley runs the London-based arts and media consultancy Six Pillars, which specialises in the geographical area described as the Middle East.
Rajesh Punj is a London based art critic, correspondent and curator, with a specialist interest in China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and the Middle East. With an academic background in European and American Art History and Curating, he currently interviews artists and writes extensively on the emerging markets.
Supported by Small Media Foundation http://smallmediafoundation.com/
Produced by Six Pillars www.sixpillars.org