By combining the delicate art of calligraphy with the freedom and expanse of painting, Afjehei is an artist who explores both the dichotomy and the relationship between text and painterly practice. Creating a visual language that is truly his own, the artist formulates an unparalleled dexterity throughout his canvases by amalgamating intricate detail with robust abstraction. Filling the entirety of his monumentally sized canvases with tightly written strands of calligraphic text, they more broadly work to form waves of abstract lines which sweep across the canvas creating an unobstructed sense of lyricism and harmony. As a testament to his deep understanding of calligraphy, his passion for nature as well as his talent in painting, Nasrollah Afjehei engages his audience in numerous layers of intellectual understanding conforming to produce profound visual statements.
Confronting his viewers with the dynamism of a full picture plane, Afjehei acknowledges the power historically given to the written word. Nodding to calligraphy’s beautiful aesthetic value as well as its traditional use as a means of documenting knowledge, emotion and transferring intellectual information, Afjehei addresses these multiple layers of meaning to imbue a tremendous sense of depth into his works. The presence of the written word in artistic practice has often been explored by artists, however, the scale and ease with which Afjehei meticulously crafts his script is an even greater testament to the qualities of his practice. With a visual lexicon significantly influenced by structural calculations and the use of calligraphy in architecture that has long been a norm in Islamic art, he understands the importance of being able to appreciate and read a composition both from a distance as well as up close. In this whirlwind wave of calligraphic letters, the words the artist expresses are indecipherable yet poetic in their seamless flow across the canvas.
The significance of the present work lies in the artist’s ability to give a duality of importance to both the painted surface of the canvas while doing equal justice to the text itself. Through the use of blue, brown and black pigments, the artist creates alternating planes of linear text in seamless waves across the canvas. With the black and brown lines fusing into one another, they work to introduce a new sense of dimensionality into the canvas. These consistent waves are starkly interrupted by pools of blue text which stand out on the surface. With the ability to captivate his audiences, Afjehei creates a succinct harmony between colour and text which produces the most profound statement of his work. Giving the viewer the ability to seek new meanings when viewed up close as well as from a distance, the artist has a genuine consciousness of proportion and scale.