Searching For a Nomadic Identity: Interview with Artist Firouz Farmanfarmaian

By Tara Biglari

In his latest series “Permanence of Trace,” the Iranian-born artist Firouz Farmanfarmaian dives deep into his memories to search for his identity.

A child of the 1979 Islamic revolution, Firouz moved to Morocco with his family.

“I’m still looking for what my identity is in this world — what the past means to me and my family,” he told Kayhan Life in an interview. “There’s something very nomadic about us.”

“I grew more and more influenced by some of the crafts and arts of Morocco,” he said. “The colors you see [in my works] are mostly influenced by the colors that I think are close to my heart, growing up in that country.”

This latest series, which is inspired by the Amazigh Berber tribe, consists of large paintings with deep green and brown brushstrokes, and elements of wool incorporated into the canvas.

Firouz said the brown he used in the background of such paintings was in fact henna, sourced from local markets. The triangles depicted are inspired by an ancient Moroccan tribe whose central belief revolves around triangles.

Inspired by the Berber Goddess Tanit, goddess of the star, sun and moon, Firouz believes that “the woman is the sacred embodiment of the continuity of creation and fertility.” He embraces this message by building relationships with, and learning from, the woman weavers of Northern Morocco.

Firouz became more connected with Moroccan communities throughout his artistic process, and “fell in love with the idea that the process is also part of the meaning,” he said.

A percentage of the proceeds from ‘Permanence of Trace’ will go the Tangiers Anjra Weavers Association, to help the Amazigh craftswomen in Northern Morocco who have inspired Firouz over the years.

For more on Firouz FarmanFarmaian’s work, please visit his website below: