Afsoon is a fantastic, self-taught Iranian artist based in London. Having lived in Tehran, San Francisco, and now London, Afsoon truly is a global artist. Her work is reflective of the places she has settled; combining an East meets West mentality. Her art works are produced through a variety of techniques including linocut, collage, photography, and etching. These multi-layered works are not only beautiful, but also highly thought provoking and powerful.
Inspiration for much of Afsoon’s work, which is featured in the collection of the British Museum, hails from her collection of old photographs, stamps, seals, and family albums. Her work is often nostalgic, both for her family and for her native country, Iran. An example of this nostalgic work is Afsoon’s ‘Fairytale Icon Series.’ This series was inspired by Afsoon’s childhood fairytales. The iconic people Afsoon choose to portray in this series have a special meaning to her. For each portrait, Afsoon carefully selects the background imagery to use for each portrait, making sure it is both relevant and meaningful.
Take for example Afsoon’s ‘Shah and 3 Queens’ series. Stories of the Shah, and his marriages to these 3 leading ladies (Soraya, Fawzia, and Farah) were part of everyday life for Iranians throughout the 60s and 70s. Through these portraits, Afsoon is alluding to a bygone era for Iran, one of Kings and Queens, of love and power. For the Shah’s icon, Afsoon embeds the background with images of the Royal Seal and old stamps carrying the Shah’s portrait:
Other people Afsoon chose to portray in her icon series include Googhosh, Iran’s legendary singer. Afsoon’s selection of Googhosh is also a reminder of Iran’s past. For this specific icon series, Afsoon selected 3 different images of Googhosh.
Another of Afsoon’s icons is the late Iranian Prime Minister Mossadegh. In the
background lie sugar wrappers, strategically placed since one of Mossadegh’s first fights
with the British concerned the right for Iranians to produce sugar locally as opposed to importing it from the British colonies. In the background, oil refineries pump red oil, alluding to Iranian blood that was spilled for the sake of the country’s oil. This is an example of how carefully crafted each of Afsoon’s ‘Fairy Tale Icons’ are, with the background and foreground merging to tell a story about each subject.
There are also icons of famous global personalities including Muhammad Ali, and three Icons of Queen Elizabeth at varying points in her life. The fact that Afsoon has also chosen to create icons of British royalty goes to show how Britain is also a part of the artist’s identity today.
Within her ‘Fairytale Icon Series’ Afsoon also produced a set of works titled ‘Tehran
Conference. Lets Play Boys’ where the artist portrays 3 global leaders (Joseph Stalin, Franklin Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill) who met in Tehran in 1943 to discuss the opening of a second front against Nazi Germany. Afsoon described this set by stating ‘While the world watched, three leaders met in Tehran to determine the course of history. Three little boys were grown up men now and liked to play with real versions of their childhood toys.’
Afsoon also made ‘Icons of the Four Corners’ in which she created a set of icons from varying parts of the world: Arab, Indian, Turkish, and Persian Icons. These icons, some from the past, some of the present, have been leading figures in the lives of millions throughout the areas they come from.
The series Afsoon is currently working on is titled ‘Persian Expressions.’ This set of over 32 works was inspired by the artist’s heritage and yearning to discover more about her culture. Since Afsoon now relates to several cultures, as a result of having lived in different parts of the world, she felt it was important to reconnect with her Persian roots. Her entire series came about from her desire to show how Persians use language in many different ways, creating a rather humorous effect, hence the series’ title ‘Persian Expressions.’
Afsoon’s works are highly sought after and always result in bidding wars whenever they appear at auctions. The artist has some exciting exhibitions coming up for 2013, and continues to work on finishing her Persian Expressions series, which she will exhibit altogether at some point in the future as a fantastic installation piece.