Vancouver film-maker Terrence Turner pays homage to the 'father of modern Iranian sculpture' Parviz Tanvoli

For over a quarter of a century one of Iran’s most famous artists, considered the 'father of modern Iranian sculpture', has lived quietly in Vancouver’s Horseshoe Bay

Parviz Tanvoli was a pioneer of Iranian modernism who spearheaded the 'Saqqakhaneh' movement in mid-century Tehran, creating a new aesthetic language that married everyday objects with  talismanic forms, contemporising traditional Persian decorative arts. While his work has been shown at the British Museum, the Tate Modern, the Grey Art Gallery in New York and the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, he’s only had a single work in one exhibition (2014’s Safar at the Museum of Anthropology) in Vancouver. But not unlike the architect Arthur Erickson, whose adapted mid-60’s bungalow houses Tanavoli and his studio, he’s slowly getting his late career due in the true north strong and free.

Vancouver film-maker Terrence Turner’s lovingly crafted homage to the artist, Poetry in Bronze, enjoyed its Canadian premiere last week to a sold out, largely Iranian crowd, who treated him like the art world rock star he is. A reflective film that traces his work from the early days of his patronage by Empress Farah Pahlavi (who makes a queenly appearance in the documentary) to his brush with pop art in 60’s New York, to his mentoring of a whole new generation of young Iranian artists, it’s also a timely reminder of how art can transcend cultural and political differences.

Writer: Hadani Ditmars

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