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Experience Barrangi's Art: Migration & Memory Explored

Immerse Yourself in Mohammad Barrangi's Artistic Odyssey at The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery.

A captivating exploration of migration, memory, and the power of storytelling is taking place at The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery. From 1 May to 20 July 2024, visitors will immerse themselves in the world of Mohammad Barrangi, a Leeds-based Iranian artist whose latest exhibition, ‘One Night, One Dream, Life in the Lighthouse’ promises a rich tapestry of cultural heritage and personal narrative. 

Drawing inspiration from his residency in the University’s Special Collections, Barrangi weaves together a mesmerising collection that transcends borders, blending Iranian calligraphy, Middle Eastern textiles, and European scientific illustrations. Central to the exhibition is a lighthouse motif, paying homage to John Smeaton, the pioneering civil engineer born in Leeds. 

What sets Barrangi's work apart from just aesthetic brilliance is the method behind it. Born without the use of his left arm, Barrangi has developed a unique approach to art, using his feet to apply exquisitely coloured layers of illustration onto various surfaces. Incorporating traditional techniques with digital manipulation and, more recently, 3D printing, Barrangi's creations are a testament to resilience and innovation. 

At the heart of Barrangi's exhibition is the character of Lily, a symbol of resilience and hope. Through Lily's journey from an Iranian port to a seaside town in England, Barrangi invites viewers into a world of dreams and stories, where memories intertwine with mythology and literature, creating a rich tapestry of human experience. 

Accompanying Lily's narrative is a melodic backdrop, echoing the stormy seas and distant shores of her journey. Barrangi introduces sound as a new element in this installation, further immersing visitors in Lily's world of wonder and imagination. 

Mohammad barrangi the smell of a woman s shirt 01 mixed media on paper


Barrangi's exhibition is more than just a celebration of individual creativity; it's a tribute to collaboration and inclusivity. In partnership with The Highrise Project, Barrangi's work has inspired a collective digital artwork made by a group of refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants. Through workshops which were part of the Galleries’ Welcoming Migrants Initiative, the group created a collaborative piece that adds depth and diversity to the exhibition, amplifying voices often marginalised in society. 

Dr Laura Claveria, Exhibitions Curator, expresses excitement about Barrangi's work, highlighting its relevance in today's society. "Mohammad Barrangi’s latest work engages with the legacy of John Smeaton in ways that feel extremely relevant to our society today," she says. "It suggests notions of freedom, memory, community, and cultural identity and calls for worldwide, cross-cultural understanding." 

From Lily's enchanting tale to the collaborative artwork of displaced communities ‘One Night, One Dream, Life in the Lighthouse’ promises an unforgettable experience that transcends boundaries and fosters understanding. 

Admission is open to all, free of charge, 10am–5pm, Tuesday through Saturday. For more information and the full events programme, visit the University of Leeds Libraries Galleries website

This exhibition is part of the Smeaton300 project, commemorating the 300th anniversary of John Smeaton.