Posted on: September 18, 2017

Iranian Artist Spotlight

Parviz Tanavoli: Sculptor


Born in Tehran, Parviz Tanavoli is among the foremost contemporary Iranian artists and considered to be a pioneer of modern sculpture. Inspired by Iran’s rich artistic and religious history, his work includes not only sculptures, but paintings, drawings, weaving, and prints.

Disciples of Sheikh San’an, 1975. Woven wall hanging.

Tanavoli is also a founding member of the Saqqakhaneh artistic movement beginning in the 1960s. Artists in the movement shared an interest in commenting on Iran’s popular culture while still being influenced by Iran’s rich history. This movement wanted to celebrate the lives and culture of Iran’s underprivileged as a reaction to the centuries of royal patronage of the arts.

The Prophet, 1964

Tanavoli is known for his heeches, three dimensional representations of the Persian word for ‘nothing’, heech. Composed of three Persian characters in the style of nasta’liq. The three letters he, ye and če are combined to produce the word ‘heech’.

Heech (Nothing), 1972. Bronze on wood base.

Heech Lovers

Tanavoli resides in Vancouver, Canada. His work has been on display countless places including the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, the British Museum, and the MoMA.