First London solo exhibition of artist Babak Rashvand

The beauty in Babak Rashvand’s paintings.

Babak Rashvand might be called a Persian Calligraphy Painter but he has his own style.

Persian Calligraphy Painting was founded in the early 1960s by Persian vanguard artists. This was a contemporary art movement widely referred to as “Saqakhaneh” (SAQQĀ-KĀNA). The term was first used in 1962 by Karim Emami (1930-2005), who was an art critic, journalist, and lecturer at the Tehran College of Decorative Arts. “Saqakhaneh” is a term that was initially applied to the works of artists, both in painting and sculpture, which used already existing elements from votive Islamic art in their own modern work: symbols, visual elements, icons, pictograms, illustration, scripts and calligraphies, only to mention a few. Gradually, the term has been applied to a wide variety of forms of modern Persian painting and sculpture, where the use of traditional decorative elements has been apparent. ¹

However, how is Babak Rashvand, a Persian Calligraphy Painter, who develops his own style?

Babak is an artist who has always derived pleasure from writing and reading. For, these activities embrace lifetime feelings and purposes within the artist’s existence: Love, Happiness, Silence, Sorrow, Depth… ²
It is noteworthy that the central meaning of Babak’s artworks are the letters, which create the words that express the above feelings. However, his exceptional input in the so-called Persian Calligraphy Painting is the elongation and the distortion of the letters, which become abstract forms. These could be seen as personifications of freedom and universality as letters, by losing their standard format, become free from any connotations. There is no country of origin or a certain vocal sound reminiscent of Rashvand’s artworks. On the contrary, the works can be seen as a dance and a homage to the eternal and universal language of music.

As Nitsche said: “Without music, life would be a mistake”, and “Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music” ³. Therefore, my wish is that we will all “listen” to Babak Rashvand’s music and dance as we read this catalogue and while gazing at his amazing artworks during his first London solo exhibition.


Maria Migadi
Art Historian


                                                                                                                                                                                                3 Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols


Maria Migadi curated the first London solo exhibition of Persian artist Babak Rashvand in Gallery 8 in St. James in London from Monday 26th to Sutarday 31st October 2015. The show was organised by Bahar Abdi with the sponsorship of Small Media and the support of Martix, Carpo and Bottle Green.