Mehdi Jalalaghdamian: Art In Exile

Exhibitions: FREE

Mehdi Jalalaghdamian: Art In Exile


Saturday 03 September 2022 - Sunday 03 September 2023

Mosaic Gallery

Mehdi Jalalaghdamian, ‘Tragedy of Refugees’ (detail), 2021. Copyright the artist

Firstsite presents a special year-long exhibition by Iranian rug maker, Mehdi Jalalaghdamian.

Currently seeking asylum in the UK, Mehdi draws attention to the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers worldwide through the traditional craft of Persian rug making. 

Art in Exile features three rugs made by Mehdi during his time as a refugee in Stockholm, Sweden.

The pain-staking method of making each piece is a metaphor for Mehdi’s journey to establish a new life far from his home in the city of Tabriz, one of the centres of the hand-made carpet industry in Iran.

Combined the three works represent the compounding challenges and influences that underpin the global migration crisis – religious and cultural conflict, notions of state and geopolitics and the mass movement and dispersal of people making treacherous journeys physically and emotionally.

Accompanying the exhibition are several films showing the creation of largest of the three rugs, Tragedy of Refugees, along with the detailed hand-drawn design Mehdi used to make this rug, plus various tools which are used in traditional rug making.

در این دنیای امروزی که هنر جای خود را به تکنولوژی وماشینی شدن، صداقت و درستی جای خود به دروغ و کنایه زدن، ارامشهای سابق جای خود را به آسایش پر زرق وبرق امروزی داده اند بیاییم از هنر وکارهای دستی رو به موت حمایت کنیم. به امید دنیایی با رنگهای طبیعی و شاد و آرامش بخش روح و روان انسانها🌻🌼🌺

 English translation:

“In today’s world, where art is replaced by technology and mechanization, honesty and integrity are replaced by lies and sarcasm, former comforts have been replaced by modern luxury, let’s support the dying arts and crafts. Hoping for a world with natural, happy and relaxing colours for people’s souls 🌻🌼🌺.” – Mehdi Jalalaghdamian

Art in Exile is the start of an ongoing programme leading from, and funded by, our Art Fund Museum of the Year 2021 award.

This exhibition will be evolving over the year, inspired and influenced by Mehdi’s experiences in the UK, and creative responses from visitors and the local community.

Participation activities inspired by Mehdi’s work will also be available for you to take part in. 

Please note: This exhibition contains images of trauma, violence and death which may be distressing for some visitors. Please speak with a gallery assistant if you have any concerns before you enter the exhibition

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Welcome area at Firstsite. 'Big Hello' (2018) Peter Liversidge. Photo by Jayne Lloyd.

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