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A Magazine for Sheffield

Mohammad Barrangi: Illustrator, calligrapher & storyteller

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We sat down for a natter with Iranian artist Mohammad Barrangi to find out more about his intriguing artwork...

First things first, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became interested in art?

My name is Mohammad Barrangi and I was born in northern Iran but I now live in the UK. I was born with a physical disability in my left hand, which has been extremely influential in my life. I could not play like other children or have fun like them so most of my days were spent painting and designing. I went to college and then I studied Graphic Arts at university.

Your pieces incorporate elements of printmaking, illustration and calligraphy. What is it about these mediums that keeps you returning to them in your work?

Yes, I use an Iranian calligraphy pen and draw on eastern elements and elements derived from people's religious beliefs when building my characters. I'm also very interested in repeating words in my work but not for the purpose of readability.

I had a very exciting year in 2018

When viewed collectively it seems that there could be a narrative running through your pieces. Is this the case or are they meant to be viewed as standalone images?

My works are narrative feelings. The characters without hands and the imaginary creatures are ones that I imagine in my mind and want to portray in my art. They can be part of the narrative of the day or taken from events that happen around me.

Where do you take inspiration from when creating a new piece?

As I said, most of my images and my characters come from my feelings. The cartoons featuring a woman could represent my mother or someone I love and I merge it with the reality of what I've left behind in my life, like my migration to the UK. This is very important in my work.

What have been the highlights for you professionally in the last 12 months?

I had a very exciting year in 2018. My work was exhibited at the Bologna Children's Book Fair, in a showroom and workshop in London's Tate Modern, and in several exhibitions in Japan, Italy and the United Kingdom. I also published my book in Argentina and did several interviews which appeared in various art journals, including Pressing Matters in the UK.

What's next for you?

I have an exhibition coming up in Saudi Arabia and soon there will be an exhibition in the city of Leeds in England. This year I will also publish two books, one in Colombia and another in Iran which I am very excited about. I will also be doing several workshops at universities and English art centres.

Instagram: @mohammad.barrangi


Interview by Flick Jackson

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