Alessandra Cianetti

Soheila Sokhanvari at the Barbican Centre

7 October 2022 – 26 February 2023

Project description 

The Bagri Foundation is proud to support Rebel Rebel, a site-specific installation for The Curve at the Barbican Centre, London, and the first major UK commission by Iranian artist Soheila Sokhanvari.

This will be her first major solo show at a major London institution. A series of 27 exquisite portraits of feminist icons from pre-revolutionary Iran are hung against a dazzling, hand-painted mural decorating the 90-metre gallery. Sculptures punctuate the space and an immersive soundscape by composer Marios Aristopoulos weaves together songs by such celebrated singers as Ramesh and Googoosh – a poignant gesture given that it remains illegal for a woman’s voice to be broadcast in Iran. 

Soheila Sokhanvari was born in Shiraz, Iran, and currently lives and works in Cambridge, where she is a studio artist at Wysing Arts Centre. Sokhanvari has exhibited internationally, with recent projects including Salam Salam, an installation commissioned by the Magic of Persia Foundation (2018); LDWN, an installation at Victoria Station, which was a collaboration between the Tate Collective and City Hall (2018); Heart of Glass, a solo exhibition at the New Art Gallery Walsall (2017); Paradise Lost, a solo exhibition at Jerwood Project Space (2017); and Homeland at the Kunsthalle Osnabrück in Germany. In 2018 

she won the Derek Hill Foundation Scholarship at the British School at Rome. Her work now features in major permanent collections, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Victoria and the Saatchi Gallery Collection. Sokhanvari gained her postgraduate diploma in fine art from Chelsea College of Art and Design and her MFA from Goldsmiths College. 

About The Barbican 

A world-class arts and learning organisation, the Barbican pushes the boundaries of all major art forms including dance, film, music, theatre and visual arts. Its creative learning programme further underpins everything it does. Over a million people attend events annually, hundreds of artists and performers are featured, and more than 300 staff work onsite. The architecturally renowned centre opened in 1982 and comprises the Barbican Hall, the Barbican Theatre, The Pit, Cinemas 1, 2 and 3, Barbican Art Gallery, a second gallery The Curve, public spaces, a library, the Lakeside Terrace, a glasshouse conservatory, conference facilities and three restaurants. The City of London Corporation is the founder and principal funder of the Barbican Centre. The Barbican is home to Resident Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra; Associate Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra; Associate Ensembles the Academy of Ancient Music and Britten Sinfonia, Associate Producer Serious, and Artistic Partner Create. Our Artistic Associates include Boy Blue, Cheek by Jowl, Deborah Warner, Drum Works and Michael Clark. The Los Angeles Philharmonic are the Barbican’s International Orchestral Partner, the Australian Chamber Orchestra are International Associate Ensemble at Milton Court, and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra are International Associate Ensemble. 

Image credits: Soheila Sokhanvari, Wild at Heart (Portrait of Pouran Shapoori), 2019. © Soheila Sokhanvari, courtesy Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery.