Meet the artist - award-winning Iranian artist in Dubai
What’s On profiles artist Amir Hossein Zanjani who is exhibiting in Dubai through August, in Al Quoz, at Alserkal Avenue, a real boost for art in Dubai.
Born in Isfahan, Iran, Amir Hossein Zanjani gained a BA and MA in Painting from the University of Tehran. In 2009 he was shortlisted for the Magic of Persia Contemporary Art Prize, and he recently received a grant from the Getty Foundation in Italy.
Where does your fascination with war come from? In the past few years, war has served as the underlying theme of my works. The main reason for my engagement with this issue is the year of my birth (1980), which I share with Iraq’s invasion of Iran, an event that led to the outbreak of an eight-year war. It was a period of hostility that marked one of the longest conflicts of the 20th century. Although the war coincided with my early years, I still bear within me a multitude of images and memories from this period.
How has your perception of war changed over time? I have revisited the Iran-Iraq war in previous works. However, in the present exhibition I have focused somewhat less on war and have instead highlighted the military commonalities of various nations. I have also illustrated the features of totalitarian systems from an alternative perspective – the outcome of the common thread of thinking between Ramin Salsali [founder of Salsali Private Museum] and me.
Does your work demand a lot of research? For my most recent collection, the gallery owner Ramin Salsali and I watched more than 50 hours of video reports and historical documentaries about the military, war and the seduction of force and power. We both came away asking the same questions: why do human beings have an innate admiration for power? Why do we submit when we love someone? Are there parallels between submitting to power and to someone that we love?
How did your research inform the final work? The main source of inspiration for my latest show is media and news imagery. My works are composed of images, informative and reportorial in nature, and especially those depicting military forces of different nations and totalitarian regimes. These images, through the process of painting with colour on impressionable surfaces, illustrate, figuratively and symbolically, but without judgment, war victims of the hidden layers of politics.
Until August 28
Salsali Private Museum, Al Quoz 1, Street 8, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai, Sun to Thur 11am to 6pm, Sat 1pm to 5pm, free. Tel: (04) 3809600. Taxi: Alserkal Avenue. salsalipm.com