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‘I used to be very cautious about telling people of my accident and having people know that I am in a wheelchair because I have never wanted people to feel sorry for me. But now that things are finally moving in the right direction for me I feel comfortable enough to talk about my tragedies which have led me to triumphs and I am only looking forward to putting more of my work out for all to see. The point of my work is not to send a sort of powerful message, the point of my work is to make my audiences stop and question what they see, and to become challenged by my work – and if that happens to people then I think I have done my job as an artist’. Afshin Naghouni
Iranian by birth, artist Afshin Naghouni (Ash) now lives and works in London. Considered a child prodigy, Ash had won a number of regional and national painting competitions between the ages of 9 and 12, but arrived in England with nothing after an accident that left him wheelchair bound. He applied for political asylum and lived in a nursing home for over two years until his application was processed, selling paintings on the street in order to buy more art supplies and cigarettes. As a result of the accident, he naturally began to execute bolder and more expressionistic brush strokes. Finding support initially through the Prince’s Trust, Ash was mentored by John Ritchie and worked for five years in setting himself up.
Today, his vast canvases are the foundation for layers upon layers of oil, resin and glossy photographic imagery. Western women flaunt themselves in various stages of undress while Eastern women peer out modestly from their burqas, and we are forced to consider the nature of exploitation and oppression in the artist’s enhanced versions of reality.