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Loss, identity and art, a powerful amalgamation

Pic by Alice Mascarenhas

‘There is a relationship between loss and identity that is very important, and when you are the child of someone in exile, and in exile yourself, this may soon find release in the creation of art’ - Firouz Farman Farmaian

Artist Firouz Farman Farmaian, this year’s judge of the Gibraltar Spring Visual Arts Exhibition currently on show at the Gustavo Bacarisas Gallery, is Persian born. He tells of his family having to flee Iran in 1979 because of the regime change and rise of the Ayatollah Khomeini escaping the Islamic revolution. His grandfather, Abdol-Aziz FarmanFarmaian, was the architect for the Shah of Iran. His family, he describes as having been “close to the core” at the time but having to leave everything behind to reinvent their lives elsewhere.

Although he grew up mostly in France and in Spain on the Costa del Sol surrounded by his family he admits his situation has seen him grow up with a sense of loss and a need to find his identity. And this, he accepts, has been the major driving force in his past and present work as an artist.

Today he runs a gallery in Marbella and lives between Paris and Marbella.

His art uses a range of media which includes paint, print, sculpture, film and even music, often presented as installations or performances. A singer and musician he also fronted a popular band in France for a while.

His art has been exhibited in, New York, London, Paris, Milan, Basel, Monaco and Marrakech, as well as LA, Seattle and Las Vegas. Of course in Spain and Dubai and Iran.

“In 1979 in Iran we lost our country and my tribe, my family has been in exile since, so for me culture and identity are very important themes which come through strongly in my work.”
He calls it a catharsis or a way of expressing what he deeply believes is his legitimate message.

It was his ability to draw, he suggests, which determined his destiny to be creative and find art.

He genuinely believes it is this mixture of natural talent and his need to define his identity that has served as the incredible force which has made him the artist he is today. The circumstances he grew up in and which helped shape his life.

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He refers to art as a life-long project.

“All artists I am sure will agree it is a life-long project in order to link your brain to your heart,” he says.

He talks of the enormous pleasure of treating media when you are a painter or a sculpture, a contemporary artist.

As we talk surrounded by the works of art in the Gustavo Bacarisas Gallery he is easy to talk to not afraid to find words to my inquisitive questions. His energy comes in waves, and they are never ending. His work speaks to a miscellany of what is relevant in politics, art and philosophy today. His knowledge of art seems complete. He is certainly up to date making sure he knows who and what moves in the world of art today.

Main pic by Alice Mascarenhas

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