Patterns of Life – Home & Design Magazine

In his daring, intricate portray on ceramics, Rezgar Mamandi recaptures photographs from a distant previous

Rezgar Mamandi’s earliest reminiscence reaches again to his household house, and the vivid impression made by an enormous, handwoven rug. Its central image of sprightly fish chasing one another round a big, light-blue circle captured his youthful creativeness. “I used to be at all times enjoying there, pretending I used to be fishing and swimming within the sea,” he remembers fondly. “Perhaps that’s one motive I really like to point out fish in my portray.”

An artist with robust ties to his homeland, Mamandi was raised within the historic village of Musasir, now known as Rabat, within the Kurdish area of northwestern Iran. The traditional city was a spiritual capital within the Mannaean civilization some 3,000 years in the past.

Lately, the artist works from his studio in a shiny, new condominium in Sterling, Virginia. Alongside one wall, tiles and different ceramic varieties are stacked on open racks, prepared for his hand-painting. Completed works and people in progress line cabinets reverse. Mamandi pulls out one 20-inch-round platter with intricate, geometric bands in dazzling black-and-white patterns. Close by, a colourful, almost accomplished wall tile exhibits two hunters—one pointing a bow-and-arrow at a bison, the opposite directing his spear towards a bull. The inky varieties exist in separate quadrants divided by jagged traces, like nationwide borders, and stand out in opposition to a terrain as fragmented as a mosaic of multi-hued stones.

Brimming with vitality, concord and folksy allure, the animals and figures recall prehistoric cave work. Right here and all through Mamandi’s artwork, principal motifs are enfolded by meticulously detailed backgrounds, or framed in richly ornamented, symmetrical borders that carry a proper order to every spirited, hand-painted piece.

The painter’s exacting elaborations conjure a broad Center Japanese previous. “I at all times say, once we moved from caves to homes and palaces, particularly with the tiles, we had been telling our tales and historical past—with the colours, with each manner we may specific them,” Mamandi notes. Whereas a number of of his favored topics, from winged lions to rams and round solar symbols, derive from historic tiles unearthed in his village, “We will’t say this model relies on a Kurdish home,” he explains. “It’s a Mesopotamian home.”

Mamandi began drawing at an early age, by no means dreaming that in the future he would change into an artist. After learning well being at Iran’s Urmia College for 2 years, he left college and opened a bookstore and publishing enterprise with a relative in Sanandaj, a middle of Kurdish tradition in Iran. He had moved to town to take courses with well-known Kurdistani painters, however discovered little time to attend. Nonetheless, he remembers, “I by no means stopped portray and sketching.”

Throughout a troublesome time for Kurdish activists and writers beginning in 2005, Mamandi relates, “a United Nations workplace in Turkey accepted my case as a refugee.” Settling in Avanos, Turkey, he prospered as a self-taught painter on ceramics, exhibiting his work at one of many metropolis’s largest artwork galleries. “I had a superb life,” he remembers.

4 years later, the artist was supplied refugee standing in america and emigrated in 2010, at age 33. “That is the land of alternative,” he says, “however for a pair years, it was very laborious.” Whereas working in eating places in Chicago, he additionally pursued ceramic portray, researching and testing clays and glazes that he discovered to be completely different right here from these he had labored with in Turkey.

Then in 2013, when presenting his artwork for the primary time at a craft present in Oak Brook, Illinois, Mamandi remembers, “My life modified. Individuals admired my work; rather a lot didn’t consider I painted every thing myself.” As he traveled across the nation, the artist got here to a present in Gaithersburg and found that he appreciated the DC space. He moved to Virginia in 2019.

As we speak, Mamandi considers himself a tile designer. “That’s my ardour,” he says, citing the liberty of making luxurious designs on expansive, flat surfaces. Recognizing, nonetheless, that “everybody might not want a tile, however everyone wants a mug, a plate, a bowl,” he continues, “I wished to carry that tradition, that design, that symmetry to this nation in each manner potential.”

The artist paints on clean earthenware varieties, which he glazes and fires in a kiln off-site. Creating the sensible colours and exact floral, geometric and architectural patterns of his artwork—impressed by Kurdish ladies’s clothes and rugs—might require as much as six completely different colours dappled in a single spot.

Reflecting again to his birthplace—the place he was surrounded by stunning design traditions and listened to age-old tales instructed by his grandfather—“I at all times thought that the previous was possibly higher than now,” the artist observes. However he stays inspired by the longer term. “In a thousand years, I by no means thought I might come to america and begin portray tiles and plates,” he says, brightening. “When you consider your previous, you see quite a lot of small issues occur that connect collectively to carry you right here. Now I do know why.”

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