It is not easy to say why I have chosen oil as a theme…The main reason may be its excessive impact and influence not only on my life and family but also on the geography of Iran - Amin Roshan
Amin Roshan is an Iranian multi-disciplinary artist whose output is deeply informed by his Bahktiari tribal heritage and his family’s involvement for many generations in the country’s oil industry. Roshan was born in the Naftoon district of Masjid-i-Sulamain in the Khuzestan Province of southwestern Iran, where the first oil well in the Middle East was discovered. His formative years were shaped by the physical presence of oil in and around the streets where he grew up.
The family re-located to Ahwaz, a city in the South West of Iran near the border with Iraq, when Amin was a child. Here he later trained in graphic design and so broke the family tradition of employment in the oil industry.
His works draw on archive materials with oil, literally and metaphorically, sourced from home. The role played by the British alongside the Iranians in the establishment of the oil industry lies at the heart of his compositions. Historical British-produced maps, standard issue helmets and blow torches are re-purposed as works of art with the deployment of crude oil and tea, the much loved beverage. Vintage photographs of key political players and events, Bahktiari grave stones, scenes from the Iran-Iraq war battle front and oil well heads demonstrate the clash of civilisations and the socio-political and economic developments which ensued in the wake of the exploitation of oil. Refreshingly, Roshan’s works neither condemn nor celebrate the oil business, rather he presents the cautionary view of an informed insider fluent in the complexities of the subject.
Exhibition by appointment only.