Opening Reception: N/A
Khosrow Hassanzadeh was born in 1963 in Tehran, to a working class Azerbaijani family. Hassanzadeh spent most of his youth in museums and cinemas, a refuge from the streets of the capital where he worked selling bananas to tourists. After joining the Basidji as a volunteer soldier fighting for two years on the border of Afghanistan and fighting as a conscript for a further two years in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, he chose to follow his heart and paint attending Persian literature classes at Azad University and taking art classes with Aydin Aghdashloo, a painter and former adviser to Queen Farah. Thirteen years later as his work was being shown in the British Museum he continued to work in a fruit and vegetable shop in downtown Tehran not wanting to abandon his roots.
Like many of his fellow artists in Tehran, Hassanzadeh has faced the disappointment of not being able to show some of his paintings, which have been exhibited in the West, at home. A series on his impressions of war as well as a series on Iranian prostitutes depicting the tragedy of their lives were both banned in Tehran.
But Hassanzadeh does not think of himself as a political painter: “I feel my artwork should reflect a serious subject. I hate politics, but I have been branded a political painter but really in Iran everybody has to be political.”