Paralympian from Iran to have artwork exhibited in Edinburgh
An artist born without the use of his left arm, who has competed in the Paralympics, is to have his artwork exhibited in Edinburgh.
Mohammad Barrangi, from Rasht, in Iran, makes prints inspired by Persian storytelling and calligraphy.
For some of his work he uses poppy roll, a heavy fabric scroll similar to the old versions of papyrus – a material used in ancient Egypt made from the pithy stem of a water plant for writing or painting on.
He also prints large-scale murals and works on raw canvas.
With the disability in his left hand, Mr Barrangi works on the floor and uses his feet to steady his work while he is cutting or printing.
When not immersed in his artwork, the printmaker has excelled in sport, previously representing Iran as a sprinter in Paralympic 100m and 200m races.
Taking inspiration from his body, the artist and athlete said his work often shows images of people with lost arms, limbs or other disabilities.
He also draws on images and ideas from a combination of Western and Eastern artwork for his prints, and from women he admires.
“In my world, all heroes are women,” he said.
“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.”
In August 2017, Mr Barrangi, who now lives in Leeds, arrived in the UK seeking asylum from Iran.
Now, with a Master of Arts from the Royal Drawing School in London under his belt, he is the first artist involved in the Edinburgh Printmakers’ new pan-European art project called In From The Margins.
The programme, funded by the European Commission’s Creative Europe, which supports the culture and audiovisual sectors, will offer residency opportunities to refugees and asylum-seeking artists and/or artists affected by migration.
Mr Barrangi’s work will be showcased as part of the Anything Is Possible exhibition at the venue, which runs from January 22 to March 27 next year.
Throughout the residency programme, Edinburgh Printmakers will be welcoming refugee and migrant communities in the studios to engage with resident artists, to share their stories and create new work.
Mr Barrangi added: “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.”
Mr Barrangi’s work is also included in the Royal Family Collection, British Museum Collection and the San Diego Museum of Art Collection.