Studio visit: Parviz Tanavoli

The artist takes us inside his Vancouver studio, discussing lions, locks, and why he has not forgotten his native Iran — plus a selection of works offered in our Dubai auction

‘Moving to Canada wasn’t easy, especially for someone in my situation,’ recalls Parviz Tanavoli, who emigrated to Vancouver from his native Tehran in 1989. ‘You have to leave everything behind — your workshop, your tools, your artworks.’

‘I live here, but my ideas are a continuation of the work I started in Iran,’ Tanavoli explains, citing the influence of traditional Persian philosophy, as well as the intricate designs of everyday objects, made in a country where sculpture has been prohibited since the 7th century.

In this video, Tanavoli shows works from his latest series, in which the lion emerges as a recurring motif — ‘an icon which pre-dates Islam.’ Large, interlocking forms are a personal reference to a childhood spent working as a locksmith — the artist adding, ‘I love large sculptures, they talk to you’.  


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