EMERGING ARTIST IRAN
Following his recent exhibition ‘Stitched’ in London, Iranian artist Farhad Ahrarnia is featured by Middle East specialist art magazine Canvas as ‘one to watch’. Born in 1971 in Shiraz, Iran and educated at the Northern Media School Sheffield UK, Ahrarnia divides his time between the two cities and “it is perhaps by being both “here and there” that he is able to reflect on his own identity and look at life as an observer” says Canvas. “For Ahrarnia nothing is quite what it seems and everything merits a closer look”.
Working in a range of media from photography and video to embroidery, Ahrarnia’s choice of technique (craft versus technology) and his subject matter (domestic versus international) are in his own words: “A reflection and testimony to the complexities of contemporary experience rooted in the hybrid, fragmented and diverse Middle Eastern ‘reality’ where tradition and modernity fuse”.
With exhibitions throughout the north of England under his belt, this summer Ahrarnia exhibited his recent work ‘Stitched’ at the Leighton House Museum in London. Featuring images of celebrities and Iranian ex-royalty taken from print and online media, Ahrarnia digitally prints the image onto canvas and then painstakingly embroiders part of the surface with colourful silk threads.
“In doing so” says Canvas “it is the relationship between what lies on the surface and what may lie underneath that piques his interest. Influenced by the ordered and geometric structures of late Mondrian paintings, Iris Murdoch’s novel ‘Under the Net’ and even the philospohical work of Wittgenstein it is the act of pulling thread through fabric that for Ahrarnia pulls hidden meanings from within the images”.
The subjects of his work include US soldiers who have died in Iraq, former empress of Iran Farah Diba Pahlavi and one of Iran’s most legendary women the stage and screen icon Googoosh.
In his brilliant video work ‘Mr Singer’ he responds to the fictional character Seargent Zinger based on a real story of a salesman and spy who sold Singer sewing machines to affluent Iranian families in the 1930s and 1940s meanwhile collecting information on the people and areas he visited.
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