Best known for his bronze sculptures inspired by calligraphy, Tanavoli is a pioneer of the 1960s’ Saqqakhaneh movement. The neo-traditionalist movement, which incorporates Iranian folk art, is seen as the first school of Iranian modern art.
Tanavoli faced a travel ban earlier this summer: on his way to speak at London‘s British Museum, the artist was stopped at Tehran’s international airport, with his passport being confiscated by officials. The British Museum event was to be a celebration of his work and a launch for his new book, European Women in Persian Houses. After the ban, which lasted two weeks, was lifted, Tanavoli returned to his Vancouver home. Unsure of why the ban took place, Tanavoli plans to continue his visits to Iran where he has a home, studio, and students.
In his six-decade career, Tanavoli’s work has been exhibited across the globe – including the Davis Museum in Wellesley, MA; the Tate Modern in London; Grey Art Gallery in New York City, NY; the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran; and now, Toronto’s Aga Khan Museum.
Horizontal Lovers will be on display at the Aga Khan Park from Friday, August 26, 2016. Poets in Love and Big Heech will be on display beginning mid-September 2016.