Iranian Paralympian to exhibit artwork in Edinburgh

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An artist born without the use of his left arm, who participated in the Paralympic Games, will have his works exhibited in Edinburgh.

Mohammad Barrangi, from Rasht, Iran, makes prints inspired by Persian storytelling and calligraphy.

For some of his works he uses a poppy roll, a roll of thick cloth similar to ancient versions of papyrus – a material used in ancient Egypt made from the lapidary stalk of an aquatic plant for writing or painting.

He also prints large-scale murals and works on raw canvases.

One of Mr. Barrangi’s prints of a zebra on a yellow background (Mohammad Barrangi / PA)

With the handicap in his left hand, Mr. Barrangi works on the ground and uses his feet to stabilize his work while he cuts or prints.

When not immersed in his works, the engraver has excelled in the sport, previously representing Iran as a sprinter in the 100m and 200m Paralympic races.

Drawing inspiration from her body, the artist and athlete said her work often shows images of people with lost arms, limbs or other disabilities.

Mohamed barrangi
Without using his left arm, Mr. Barrangi uses his right hand and feet to stabilize his work when he prints (Mohammad Barrangi / PA)

He also draws on images and ideas from a combination of Western and Eastern artwork for his prints and from the women he admires.

“In my world, all the heroes are women,” he said.

“I like to portray images of my mother, Iranian queens in exile 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 travel, travel and immigration.

“Sometimes I combine elements of classic Western paintings with Eastern stories or images.”

Mohamed barrangi
My Strange World (2020) is a print by Mr Barrangi (Mohammad Barrangi / PA)

In August 2017 Mr Barrangi, who now lives in Leeds, arrived in the UK to seek asylum from Iran.

Now, with an MA from the Royal Drawing School in London under his belt, he is the first artist involved in the new pan-European art project of Edinburgh printmakers called In From The Margins.

The program, funded by the European Commission’s Creative Europe, which supports the cultural and audiovisual sectors, will provide residency opportunities for refugees and artists seeking asylum and / or artists affected by migration.

Mr Barrangi’s work will be on display as part of the Anything Is Possible exhibition on the site, which runs from January 22 to March 27 next year.

Mohamed barrangi
A portrait of Mohammad Barrangi, whose works will be on display at the Edinburgh Printmakers from January next year (Mohammad Barrangi / Edinburgh Printmakers / PA)

Throughout the residency program, Edinburgh Printmakers will welcome refugee and migrant communities to the studios to engage with resident artists, share their stories and create new work.

Mr Barrangi added, “My work ultimately shapes me, as well as my feelings and my vision of the community around me. So while each exhibit is different, it stems from my own innermost feelings.

“With each exhibition, I like to try new methods and new work. Of course there is a risk, but for me it is a challenge.

Mohamed barrangi
Mr. Barrangi’s work combines elements of Persian calligraphy, storytelling, text and touches of humor (Mohammad Barrangi / PA)

Mr. Barrangi’s work is also included in the Royal Family Collection, the British Museum Collection and the San Diego Museum of Art Collection.


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