An award-winning Iranian artist is to transform Edinburgh Printmakers with his first solo exhibition in Scotland.
Mohammad Barrangi, a printmaker and Paralympic athlete, is sharing new works in Anything Is Possible, which runs from January 2022 to March 27.
His work combines elements of Persian calligraphy, storytelling, text, and touches of humour. Using contemporary printmaking techniques, along with traditional calligraphy and handmade paper practices, Barrangi’s finished works emulate ancient manuscripts in both color and texture.
The exhibition will welcome visitors to Mohammad’s fantastical world inspired by ancient Persian storytelling. Using a unique printmaking process on paper Mohammad’s works range between small scale pieces and large murals and for the first time he will take some of his characters from the walls and represent them as free standing structures in the gallery space.
Another first for Mohammad will be creating artworks on a poppy roll, a heavy fabric scroll Similar to the old versions of papyrus used in Egypt printed at the Centre for Advanced Textiles at Glasgow School of Art.
Using contemporary printmaking techniques, along with traditional calligraphy and handmade paper practices, Barrangi’s finished works emulate ancient manuscripts in both color and texture.
Typically, Mohammad begins his work with ink drawings of animal and human figures, digitizing each so he can repeat the images and vary their scale. He lays out each composition backwards and reversed, the inked image only being revealed once he uses a solvent to rub away the excess fibre. Mohammad’s practice has grown to include large-scale murals and works on raw canvas instead of solely on handmade paper.
Born without the use of his left arm, Mohammad works on the floor and uses his feet to steady his work while he’s cutting or printing. Reflecting his own experience as an artist with a disability, his works often show images of people with lost arms, limbs or other disabilities as well images of women that he admires.
Mohammad 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 was born in Rasht, Iran, 1988. He has represented Iran internationally as a sprinter in the Paralympics 100m and 200m dashes. Born without the use of his left hand, he qualifies under the classifications of T46 and T47.
After studying art he moved into book illustration graduating from the Islamic Azad University of Tonekabon in 2011, majoring in graphic design. He also holds a MA from Royal Drawing School. Now based in Leeds, UK he has since exhibited internationally, won numerous illustration awards and His work is included in the Royal Family Collection, British Museum Collection, and San Diego Museum of Art Collection.
Mohammad Barrangi is the first artist in residence at Edinburgh Printmakers as of a new pan European three year art project called In from the Margins funded by Creative Europe. This will see partner art organisations on the periphery of Europe identify as Studios of Sanctuary and offer residency opportunities to refugees and asylum-seeking artists and/or artists affected by migration, bringing such artists into mainstream programming.
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.
For more information on the organisation and to view a wide range of prints and images of the studio visit www.edinburghprintmakers.co.uk