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Persian art flourshing in London: Maryam Marzai

Exclusive Interview By Dr Shahid Qureshi –
Maryam Marzai is British/Iranian artist based in London. She exhibited her art at London Global Summit in June 2014 hosted by Foreign Secretary William Hague and Angelina Jolie. Maraym is internationally recognized artist and tutor. The London Post conducted an interview with her.
London Post – Can you please tell us about yourself?
I was born in 1977 in Tehran and at a very young age we hade to move to Birjand with my family in East of Iran. I passed three levels to get my diploma. We have primary school, secondary school and the third is the one, which you suppose to choose a subject, between science, math, literature and art.

There were varieties of subjects in art and I decided to study clothing design.
I completed my course and went to university. The subject I thought could help me improve my skills was carpet designing. I started working on this in 1997 and completed my university education, which enabled me to incorporate many techniques into my later painting practice.

London Post: You had a busy life and work schedule, how you manage both?
After graduation I decided to learn more in the Bazar (market), where we have many famous artists. In a year as my tutor believe I was strong enough to start my professional career as a designer in a major corporation, while teaching art on a part-time basis.

London Post: Who inspired you in this profession?

In 2001, I was invited by Hossein Razzaghi, a major Iranian miniature artist, to join The Art Centre, as well known centre of excellence for arts in Iran, as an apprentice, this being the common way artists are trained in the traditional art of miniature painting in Iran. Whilst at the centre, I came into contact with many other famous artists including Mahdavi and Nabizadeh who were to influence my style and practice over the coming years. Then I joined the private classes run by these two famous artists until 2004.

London Post: What are your major achievements?

In 2004,I received the Diploma of Honour, a prize given to young artists as recognition of their work, and in 2005 won two further competitions in fine art (painting).
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At this point I had my first solo exhibition in Iran, immediately followed by exhibitions in Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan also my work exhibited in Alhambra University in Lahore, Pakistan.

London Post: When and why did you come to UK?

In 2007 I came to study in London, considered to be a major contemporary arts centre, in order to develop a more global perspective on art and to benefit from the variety of art and artists practicing in this cosmopolitan metropolis. Here I studied Fine Art at Kensington and Chelsea College, exploring many issues and styles in contemporary fine art practice and theory.

London Post:  Tell us about your personal life Journey?

I got married in 2008, which ends in separation; the only art piece during my marriage life is a painting, which shows many situations that I was dealing with during this short life. The separation gave me enough time to carry on my skills. Alongside my research and studies in fine art, I have run various painting workshops and held several exhibitions in London, Durham and Leicester.

In 2011 I was encouraged to continue mastering my skills in traditional arts and design, so I joined The Prince’s school of Traditional Art as a master student.
My artistic journey has taken me from the worlds of textile and carpet design to miniature and contemporary painting, resulting in a different artistic style and identity, which may be described as a contemporary traditional art.

London Post: As a role models what advice you would give to young artists?

It is very kind of you that call me role model, but I cannot be a role model, as I do believe I still need to work harder to reach this point. I think young people don’t need any advice, if they love arts the way real artist does they will find their own way. I remember the advise from my Islamic tutor in Iran, who believe if you do art because you love it one day you will be reach, but if you want to learn art to be reach you will never be artist nor rich.

London Post: How you spend your leisure time?

I think there is no spare time for me especially in the UK. I am quit busy with improving my English language apart from artwork. I also do cook and it is one of my favorite entertaining. As I have some experience in combining arts, I love to do it when I do cook. My food does not look like Iranian food nor English, Arabic and Asian one. 
Thank you
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