Campbell's London

Golnaz Jebelli

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Golnaz was born in India to Persian parents, and has lived and worked in Sweden, Iran, France and Switzerland prior to moving to London.

She presents in this show a body of work inspired by the history and lives of Iranian Nomads, as well as a celebration of her deep rooted Persian heritage. It is a festival of vivid colours, interwoven with personal memories of ancient crafts, such as weaving carpets and fabrics on the Silk Road and it depicts how Persians have celebrated life through music and dance, connecting them to the land ‘Khak’ of the Iranian plateau.

For Golnaz, painting is a play with colours – it’s delicious. She uses oil, as this lends itself well to human flesh colours, and is a medium which she can manipulate well to create the vibrancy of colour she desires. Although her paintings may look ‘realistic’ or ‘figurative’, looking closely will reveal how she sees abstraction in the smallest of areas. Her lines (or brushstrokes) are free to appear anywhere – an attempt of making the unseen visible. “Any line I paint, I have seen before in the curves of branches and trees”. Golnaz has always been fascinated by trees – and their strong symbolism in “growing strong roots” and connecting them to earth. Trees were the main subject in many of her previous paintings. It is more recently, and being influenced by the writings of Carl Jung, that she has turned her attention to people. By looking deeply and intensely at each line, each mark, for hints towards what is not always obvious to the naked eye, Golnaz regards her work as a search for the “truth”, and to find and paint the hidden story. This holistic process, with an intense focus on the life story, creates an energy and connection which feeds into her paintings – some with sad, traumatic, others joyous and happy, but all equally intriguing.

As an Iranian growing up and living in Europe, she has a particular cultural lens. Drawn by her Persian heritage, her ongoing project of painting Nomads of Iran, include Nomadic children. Through her personal and spiritual painting process, she uses mandalas and channels hidden messages (including Persian words and expressions) which add “magic” and another depth to her paintings. As such Golnaz regards painting as an alchemical process. Some of the children are described as being ‘lost in the fabric of life’ or ‘being lost in the wheel of life’. Through her portraits you will observe that new life and meaning is given to all these faces who look back at you and at the world.

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