LEVEL 3, GALLERY 28
IRAN, BORN 1969
LIVES AND WORKS IN CAMBRIDGE
Paradise lost 2014–16 is a set of 20 small paintings related to Soheila Sokhanvari’s childhood memories. Collectively, the works present a portrait of the artist, her family and Iranian society around the time of the 1979 Iranian Revolution. The NGV’s nine works from the series are recreations of family photographs, painted in a sepia tone commonly associated with historical photographs. The ‘paint’ is Iranian crude oil that Sokhanvari sourced from an oil refinery in her birthplace, Shiraz. This choice of medium is an integral part of the meaning of the work. It suggests that a personal or family portrait is never a self-contained story, because it is embedded in a network of social and economic relationships. These relationships are represented here by Iranian oil, which has played a crucial role in Iranian history and Sokhanvari’s own exile from her home.
For the purpose of education, Soheila Sokhanvari moved with her brother, from Iran to England in 1978. A year later she watched the tumultuous events of the 1979 Iranian Revolution unfold from afar. Remaining in England, Sokhanvari graduated from Chelsea College of Art and Design with a Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Art in 2006 and a Master of Fine Art from Goldsmiths College in 2011. Sokhanvari works in various media and chooses her mode of expression according to the ideas she wants to communicate in each work. She has exhibited regularly, and her works are held in national and international private and public collections.