QUESTION: Discuss how cultural experience informs the practice of artists
Contemporary artist Hossein Valamanesh and Janet Lawrence both have a different and diverse cultural background in which informs their practice. Hossein’s cultural background underpins much of his art, intertwining both his Australian and Iranian background. Lawrence’s artworks are a personal comment on her world, she explores contemporary and therefore cultural themes such as history, art, science and memory.
Valamanesh immigrated to Australia from Iran in 1973. His Australian and Iranian heritage greatly informs his practice. A main cultural inspiration exhibited throughout many of his works is the incorporation of Sufi poetry, calligraphy in the Persian language of Farsi and the rich mythology of Persian culture. Valamanesh investigates into human connections and links into different cultures. Valamanesh’s means of expression are witnessed through his use of materials and diverse methods. Many of his natural materials juxtapose with man made materials suggesting entwined cultures.
Valamanesh’s ‘On the Way’ 1990, suggest that in moving from different cultures, one must grow up and evolve to ultimately face a challenging journey ahead. In this work Valamanesh explores the relationships between found objects and a painted shadow. The shadow is symbolic, linking to the artists main themes of inner weakness, fragility, displacement and vulnerability. Each of these thematic concerns link to an important feeling of cultural displacement.
Valamanesh’s cultural experiences are evident in his work titled ‘Longing belonging’ 1997. In ‘Longing Belonging’, a photograph of a Persian carpet burning in the Australian mallee scrub is presented behind the carpet itself. His work exhibits his struggles in finding himself in a new land. The Persian carpet directly links to his Iranian culture. By consuming a section of the carpet with fire, the work embodies a sense of trying to locate...
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