Afsaneh Modiramani is an Iranian weaver who draws on traditional motifs from nomadic peoples in her region. She was first introduced to weaving seventeen years ago by Leila Samari, who now teaches loom weaving and textile design at Tehran University of art and runs the Haft Samar gallery. Afsaneh learnt weaving at Pardis University in Isfahan.
I am fascinated by textiles as a whole. I take great pleasure in weave, patterns and the use of colour. It is a privilege to be involved in one of the original expressions of art in human civilization. I seek to create contemporary pieces using those very traditional concepts and images. I have participated in number of local and international textile group exhibitions.
Afsaneh Modiramani – 2009
Afsaneh’s BA thesis was on equestrian textile accessories used traditionally by Iranian nomadic tribes. She was supervised by Parviz Tanavoli, a renowned Iranian sculptor and author of key reference books, including Shahsavan, Gabbeh, and Bread and Salt. From Parviz, she learnt about the nomad’s use of colour and traditional Iranian motifs. She has incorporated the lion, the evergreen tree and the shrub into her loom-made textiles. The lion which has a long precedent in Iran’s culture and for years was the emblem of Iran’s national flag backed by the sign of sun.As part of her BA thesis on ‘horse cover weaving’, Afsaneh travelled to the mountains to find nomadic peoples. She visited Bakhtiyari, Qashqa`i and Turkoman nomads, spread across central, southern and northern Iran. The Persian name for ‘horse cover weaving’ is “Jol” and it is used as a decorative piece placed under the horse saddle. She found that they had changed and the young nomad generation has gradually forgotten the traditional motives and use of colours and has resorted to weaving simple non-traditional pieces.
Afsaneh is also interested in the ‘paisley’ design, which was first woven in Kashmir around 11th century and then was brought to Iran, Russia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 15th century Iran, the name was changed from Sanskrit to the Iranian name ‘Shawl’ and eventually ‘Shawl Termeh.’ As Afsaneh says ‘I am very interested in pastry motives, shiny brocades and nomadic motives and using my imagination I combine them with colourful warp and weft which has been chosen very carefully’. Her work features the motif of the lion that is characteristic of the nomadic designs.
For the past eleven years, Afsaneh was working as manager for the design at Mahestan carpet company. She is now devoted full time to her own weaving.
Afsaneh does not pretend to belong to the class of nomads who are the inspiration for her weaving. Would we look at this differently if it was woven by a Western artist?
- · crafttalk.ning.com/profile/AFSANEHMODIRAMANI
- · www.mahestancarpet.com
- · Excerpt from People of the Wind, documentary about the Bakhtiari