Tell me about your artwork. What medium(s) do you work with primarily?
Portraiture became my main subject in 2004. Up until then I really was painting a bit of everything. But after discovering some amazing portrait works by the great artists like Lucian Freud, Frida Kahlo I realized that the subjects in these works had connected with me more than anything else.I think in a sense you seeing another person powerfully speak to you, so you want to know what’s the message behind eyes of these portraits?
I started my work with self-portrait. By doing this I became quite interested in woman as a subject and I felt this is the subject I would like to explore more. I think I would like to continue working on this as long as I discover new things in it. Having said that, more recently, I have started to paint men’s portraits too.
I work with a wide range of media and techniques that have included painting, video, photography, installation and performance. My main focus in 2011-12 was on video and performance. I had the opportunity to collaborate with a friend of mine, Monica De Ioanni; a professional performer and contemporary dancer. Our first collaboration was Departure, a video work that showed the struggles of human to overcome any challenge or obstacle and any perceived limitations. After that we realized we can work well together and we had a joint artist residency in Inverleith House Gallery & Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh which culminated in few more video works.
What are some people, events or things that have inspired you as an artist?
I believe immigration had a great impact on my works. When I came to London in 2005, I encountered a multi-cultural society. People were from different nationalities with different cultures. It was quite a new environment for me. On the other hand I had this opportunity to have contact with both Iranian and non-Iranian artists and see their works. Also studying the postgraduate course was important. They all opened new doors for me and eventually I changed the form of presenting my ideas.
How does your identity as someone of Iranian descent influence your artwork?
There is no doubt. Basically the core of my practice was shaped in Iran. I was born in Iran, studied in Iran, I had my first exhibition in Iran and more importantly I think my life in Iran prior to my immigration was influenced my work immensely. But at the same time I would like to have a wide range of audiences from different cultures and not being limited to a certain nationality or gender. I would prefer to invite audiences to see the world from my point of view. As a result I would like to create a work, which is understandable for people from all different backgrounds.
What projects are you working on now?
I’ve just finished editing my new four video works that was result of my collaboration with Monica as well as a mural painting in Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh. And moved to Glasgow from Edinburgh. At the moment, I am working on series of drawings inspired by urban landscape and exploring its effect on people’s life.
Keep up with Haleh on her website, Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin .
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