Born in northern Iran in 1988, Mohammad Barrangi’s work combines elements of Persian calligraphy, storytelling, text and touches of humour. The former Paralympian completed his postgraduate studies this year at the Royal Drawing School in London. His work is in the Royal Collection, and the collections of the British Museum and the San Diego Museum of Art.
“I always say I live in a wonderland. 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. Women whose images I have sometimes used based on previous knowledge, such as my mother’s face. Or the women I have seen in my friends’ old albums. But the characteristic of all of them is that they have left strange stories behind. I have always used the faces of women whose lives have been full of surprises and ups and downs. Like the face of the Queen of Iran: one day she was a queen and one day a refugee.
Most of my work is about immigration, and recently I have also been inspired by old Indian pictures and stories, like the two people here, fighting and riding elephants. The characters here, like most of those in my work, have just one hand as I have never had the experience of having two hands.
I draw my characters first with an Iranian pen or a similar type of calligraphy pen. Then, with the help of my feet, I collage some of the designs of old Iranian or Indian carpets. Finally, I photocopy and print on the paper I painted myself.
The writings you can see on this artwork are taken from old Arabic books and are used only for composition. They appear as a mirror image once they’re printed as part of the artwork, and the inversion makes the writings unreadable.
And it turns out that I am inspired by the old paintings of the Parthian period. I love art as I am my own works, like the handwriting with an Iranian calligraphy pen that repeats a word.”
Find out more about Mohammad Barrangi’s, Anything is Possible exhibition from 21 Jan – 27 March 2022 at Edinburgh Printmakers