Middle East & Africa

Hossein Valamanesh

In Runner there are two elements:a big painting and a rolled Persian rug. The rug refers to Iran’s cultural history. The travelling tribes used to transport rugs through the desert on camels or horses so that they would always have a comfortable place to sleep and dream. The oldest known rug is from the 6th century before J.-C. The rugs’ iconography is related to the mythical Paradise garden. The rug used  in Runner refers to the idea of moving in space to emigration and the artist’s story.

The big picture made of natural materials (red sand and lotus flowers) refers to Aboriginal paintings and their relation to cosmic forces. This big abstract surface is a reminder of both the Australian and the Iranian deserts. As in most of his work, Hossein Valamanesh knits a dialogue between two cultures while revealing the universal character of each of them, and situates the individual at the center of this configuration.


Born in Teheran in 1949, Hossein Valamanesh immigrated to Australia in 1973 while going back regularly to Iran. His work is often made out of natural material or found objects such as Persian rugs, family photo albums or clothes. He is influenced by Persian poetry and Sufism, which brings a metaphysical questioning related to his personal reflections. He starts from his own cultural story as an emigrant; from his encounter with another culture to question the human condition. When he arrived in Australia he discovered Aboriginal art which made him decide to stay and settle in Australia. Since then, he has had direct contact with these Aboriginal communities interested in the relation between nature and the cosmos.