Farhad Ahrarnia

1971 born in Shiraz, Iran and lives and works between his hometown and Sheffield, UK.

Farhad Ahrarnia holds a degree in Experimental and Documentary Film Theory and Practice from the Northern Media School, Sheffield Hallam University, UK.

Farhad's practice comprises a diverse range of meticulously crafted works that cover questions of ideological narratives, national identity and intercultural exchange. He is deeply influenced by the traditions of his hometown Shiraz; his methodology consists of ancient techniques associated with its indigenous culture such as embroidery, metalwork and mosaic to draw on sociocultural constructions and motives that reference national codes. 

Another key influence is Kazimir Malevich, the works of that modernist Suprematism being reminiscent of the urban labyrinth that was Shiraz in the seventies and eighties, where Farhad grew up amidst modernist architecture overlaying ancient ruins to create a dynamic city. The sublime beauty and quasi-religious experience inherent to Malevich’s work address a universality which is transcendent of national cultures and identities.

By juxtaposing traditional Orientalist craft techniques and paragons of popular culture, Farhad thus explores the dichotomy between Islamic traditions and Western society’s aspiration for progress and modernity.

Farhad has exhibited in several solo shows such as: Something for the Touts, the Nuns, the Grocery Clerks and You, Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, UAE, 2017; Manouchehri Merchant House, Kashan, Iran, 2016; A Dish Fit for the Gods, Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, UAE, 2015; Stage on Fire, Rose Issa Projects, London, UK, 2014; Canary in a Coal Mine, Rose Issa Projects, London, 2014; Stitched, Leighton House Museum in collaboration with Rose Issa Projects, London, UK, 2008; Stitched, Rose Issa Projects, London, UK, 2008; Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead, UK, 2005; and Home, Bessie Sertees House, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK, 2004.

His work is in several collections including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), LA, California, USA; Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, Australia; the British Museum, London, UK; Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford, UK; Harewood House, Leeds, UK; The Mohammed Afkhami Collection, Dubai, UAE and the Huma Kabakci Collection, Istanbul, Turkey.

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