New works by Iranian artist and paralympic athlete, Mohammad Barrangi, will be displayed in a new exhibition at Edinburgh Printmakers from 22 January to 27 March 2022.
Barrangi will be the first artist in residence at Edinburgh Printmakers as part of a new three year art project called In from the Margins funded by Creative Europe.
This is a Europe wide project providing Studios of Sanctuary for refugee artists which offers places for 30 artists to take up supported residencies in internationally recognised print studios.The intention is to bring work by refugee and migrant artists into mainstream programming.
The art produced with contemporary printmaking techniques encompasses Persian calligraphy, storytelling, text along with some touches of humour. There are large and small pieces with Barrangi’s fantastical characters produced as life size free standing forms.
Barrangi’s solo exhibition, Anything is Possible, is inspired by ancient Persian storytelling creating a fantastical world. Throughout the residency programme Edinburgh Printmakers will be welcoming refugee and migrant communities in the studios to engage with resident artists, to share their own stories and create new work which will be shared between our project members and the wider visual arts community in Europe. The programme will culminate in a group exhibition at Edinburgh Printmakers in spring 2023.
Artworks will be created on a poppy roll which is a heavy fabric scroll similar to papyrus.The works look like ancient manuscripts both in colour and texture, usually beginning with ink drawings. Each human or animal figure is digitised so that it can be repeated and resized. Each composition is then laid out backwards and reversed with the inked image revealed once excess fibre is rubbed away.
The artist was born without the use of his left arm and works on the floor using his feet to anchor the work while he cuts and prints it. Many images are created of people without arms or other limbs.
As an athlete Barrangi represented Iran as a sprinter in the Paralympics 100m and 200m dashes. He sought asylum in August 2017 when he turned up at The Art House where he immediately was offered studio facilities while he remained in Wakefield. The Art House also assisted him in his application for refugee status.
He is now based in Leeds and his work is included in the Royal Family Collection, British Museum Collection and the San Diego Museum of Art Collection.
Mohammad Barrangi said: “I always say I live in a wonderland where anything is possible. You do not need a passport to travel to my world. Everyone lives in a common world and a land. In my world, animals talk. Humans and animals have one nature – a combination of human and animal. And in my world, all heroes are women. I like to depict images of my mother, exiled Iranian queens or just friends who mean a lot to me. I will often combine them with animals or mythical creatures, as my work often focuses on journeys and travelling and immigration. Sometimes I combine elements from classical Western paintings with Eastern stories or imagery.
My work ultimately shapes me and my feelings and my view of the community around me so while every exhibition is different it comes from my own innermost feelings. Every exhibition I like to try new methods and new work. Of course there is a risk, but for me it is a challenge.”
Mohammad Barrangi: Anything is Possible
21 Jan – 27 March 2022
Gallery 1, Edinburgh Printmakers,
Castle Mills 1 Dundee Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9FP
Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm