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Venetia Porter is in conversation with Tarlan Rafiee and Yashar Samimi Mofakham, talking about their work as artists, curators and collectors and the current Iranian art scene. Parviz Tanavoli is one of the artists they work with and Yashar will discuss with him his recent book The Virus of Collecting.


Venetia Porter is curator of Islamic and Contemporary Middle East art at the British Museum and Honorary Research Fellow at the Courtauld Institute of Art. The newly published Reflections: contemporary art of the Middle East and North Africa, with Natasha Morris and Charles Tripp, will be accompanied by an exhibition at the British Museum in Spring 2021.

Tarlan Rafiee and Yashar Samimi Mofakham are Iranian artist-curators, and founders of Bread & Salt Project, a curatorial platform, collection and archive of Iranian pre-modern, modern and contemporary art. They also run the KA:V Editions, a contemporary limited-edition publication based in Tehran. Their most recent curatorial project is The Solace of Lovers which they curated for the Tyrolean State Museum in Austria.

Parviz Tanavoli is known as ‘The father of modern sculpture in Iran’. A graduate of the Brera Academy, Milan, he was the head of the Sculpture department at the University of Tehran until 1979. A highly acclaimed artist, whose work is found in major public and private collections worldwide, recent exhibitions include Oh Nightingale at the Art Museum, West Vancouver (2019), Lions of Iran at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (2017), and a major retrospective at the Davis Museum, Boston (2015). As artist and cultural historian he has published widely on his own work and the crafts of Iran. The Virus of Collecting is published in Persian with a forthcoming English edition edited by Venetia Porter. Parviz Tanavoli lives between Tehran and Vancouver