5 questions to the Artist: Azita Moradkhani

While the call for artists of the 5th edition of the Young Masters Art Prize is in full play, we want to remember our past editions and our amazing alumni. Today we have talked to Azita Moradkhani, winner of the Young Masters Art Prize and Young Masters Emerging Woman Art Prize in 2017.

Azita Moradkhani

Azita Moradkhani

1. Why did you decide to apply to the Young Masters Art Prize?

The Masters are extremely relevant to my work. I maintain a traditional artistic practice, using representation to comment on the contemporary world. I’m interested in bringing back beauty and realism to contemporary art, using formality, virtuosity, and delicacy to connect my work aesthetically to art of the past. So, when I heard about the Young Masters Art Prize, I thought it would be a great fit for the kind of projects I was working on.

2. How did you choose the work you submitted, and what was is about?

In my art-making process, I take time to go through the channels of the art world and make my points aesthetically approachable, but aesthetic pleasure is not enough. There has to be a conceptual dimension as well, and I want to challenge viewers to recognise the significance of both of these and how they work together in so many of the images made available to us. Themes from the Old Masters’ works emerge in my two drawings that I submitted for the prize. In one of the drawings – “Becoming” – I used the nearly-touching hands of God and Adam from the iconic image by Michelangelo. I challenge the story of Adam’s creation as an idealised representation of the physical birth of a man rather than of a woman. My piece points out the power of women’ bodies to give birth to humankind even while we are limited in our power to make decisions about our own bodies.

Azita Moradkhani (c)  Becoming (Victorious Secrets).  2016. Coloured pencils on paper, 30.5 x 40.6 cm

Azita Moradkhani (c) Becoming (Victorious Secrets). 2016. Coloured pencils on paper, 30.5 x 40.6 cm

In another drawing – “Not Too Far Away” – I use a photograph of migrants arriving in Greece on a Turkish boat in 2015. This piece was inspired by the painting “The Raft of the Medusa” by Théodore Gericault. The figure at the top right side of the drawing, holding a piece of fabric, is repeated in the figure of a child, also holding a cloth, at the top left side. Both of these images show immigrants drifting on the sea, risking their vulnerable bodies for the hope of a better future.

Azita Moradkhani (c)  Not Too Far Away (Victorious Secrets).  2016. Coloured pencils on paper, 30.5 x 43.3 cm

Azita Moradkhani (c) Not Too Far Away (Victorious Secrets). 2016. Coloured pencils on paper, 30.5 x 43.3 cm

3. What did you get from the experience of participating in the Prize?

Winning the Young Masters Art Prize and the Young Masters Emerging Woman Art Prize from The Cynthia Corbett Gallery has been an honour for me and I am very grateful for that. Through this experience, I have had the pleasure to work with The Cynthia Corbett Gallery and meet art professionals including curators, critics, collectors, and other artists beyond the borders of America.

4. How did your career change afterwards?

After winning the prize in 2017, through The Cynthia Corbett Gallery, my work has been exhibited internationally at different places such as London Art Fair, Art New York, Royal Academy of Arts, Art Miami, The Royal Opera Arcade Gallery, and The Royal Over-Seas League. Also, I have been interviewed and my work has been reviewed in different prestige publications such as The Guardian, BBC Persian, Financial Times, Women in Art, Crafts Council, After Nyne Magazine.

5. What advice would you give to artists applying to this year’s prize?

I strongly encourage all the visual artists in different disciplines around the world to apply to this great opportunity. I advise them to read the application carefully and take the time to answer the questions about their work and artist statement. Best of luck in this journey!

Artists wishing to apply to the Young Masters Art Prize are encouraged to do so until 31 May 2019.