A highlight of the Autumn programme was Lovers of Apadana, a new exhibition by renowned textile artist Bita Ghezelayagh. Bita was born in Florence and grew up in Tehran, and now lives in London. She studied architecture in Paris and worked in building conservation in Tehran, notably restoring the headquarters of the Association of Iranian Calligraphers.
Bita has shared a few words about her work and the experience of exhibiting in the museum:
I always enjoyed visiting Leighton House and in October of this year, I was given the exceptional opportunity to display my handmade textiles in the wonderful, extravagant environment of this quirkiest of museums. Rather than restrict me to one room, the Senior Curator, Daniel Robbins, gave me the liberty to hang my work in many different spaces allowing visitors to make their own discoveries as they made their way round. Some of Leighton’s artworks were temporarily displaced to make way for my own which was immensely flattering. I’ve always felt that a historical context such as this has the capacity to speak to our modern tastes and this is certainly true in the case of Leighton House.
I’ve been working as a textile artist for the past fifteen years. I started by elevating the traditional craft of felt-making to contemporary art. When I moved to London around ten years ago, I found threadbare Persian carpets in attics, which I began recycling and using as a canvas for my artistic vision, adding silk embroidery, metal pen nibs, and other symbols and tokens.
Roxane Zand from Sotheby’s commented: ‘Bita defies any simple category, using her highly individualistic inspiration to add a distinctively modern layer, elevating humble items such as discarded rugs to upcycle into a statement about our age of casual disposal’.