SOAS University of London

Brunei Gallery, SOAS University of London

Cultural Connotations

An exhibition of paintings and prints

by Abdolhamid Keshmirshekan
19 July - 17 September 2004

As a young Iranian artist, having spent several years studying in the United Kingdom, Abdolhamid's art focuses on the issues of cultural and artistic identity. In order to achieve an individual language in his art as well as include his past heritage, he has benefited from such sources as traditional pictorial materials while using a modernistic and innovative approach.

"Over the past years as an individual artist who has been interested in cultural interpretation in my art, the question of artistic identity has constantly stimulated my mind. As I progressed with my PhD research, I have become more interested in the above-mentioned issue and this is reflected in my works. The artistic productions which are exhibited in the show have been executed during the past two years and include works that try to deal with the same preoccupation. "

Abdolhamid Keshmirshekan, 2004

In the first half of the exhibition, which consists of paintings, calligraphic forms are designed to establish communication with an audience and to stimulate thought and inspire a critical attitude. In all this series of works, texts present simple sequences that mix provocative social commentary with poetic reflections. A substantial element of these works sets out from calligraphic forms, mainly Nastaliq (a sort of classical Iranian calligraphy) script. The technique that has been employed in these works varies from traditional materials such as oil, acrylic on board to computer design using such graphic soft-wares as Photoshop.

The second half of the exhibition consists of prints which mainly derive from autobiographical stories. They have executed in different etching or engraving techniques including soft-ground, hard-ground, aquatint, dry-point etc. In terms of subject-matter, many of these works touch upon the questions raised by multiculturalism and notions of cultural identity. In these prints, the artist tries to fuse vocabularies from the natural and cultural worlds . These works investigate how socio-political realities and ideologies dominate ordinary life.