Interview by Zara Mahmood from London Arts and Health.
At London Arts and Health we are looking to invite artists who work within a wellbeing context to have residency at our Central London hub. Our first artist is Ramin Imantalab (also known as Ali), who is a refugee artist based now in London. With his artistic skills he is bringing our office to life, using his unique painting technique to create a beautiful mural in the City Arts and Health Hub. Zara spoke to him to find out more about his background, his passion for arts and how he came to love and produce such wonderful artworks.
Ramin (Ali) Imantalab is from the North of Iran from a city called Rasht, his first language is Persian. He has an older brother who is also in the UK who is a very skilled pianist and another older brother back home in Iran who is his role model. His brother is a skilled master in art, calligraphy, music and he has a very beautiful voice.
He started his art work which consisted of calligraphy, music and painting 15 years ago, his professional work is in calligraphy. He had a teacher called Master Khalil Habib Zadeh who taught him calligraphy since he was 16 years old, he learned this art from him for 8 to 9 years. Ali used to teach his artwork to around 300 to 400 students in his school as well as his friends’ school. His other work also consisted of making shop signs and memorials for graves.
For many different reasons he had to leave his country as he could not hold exhibitions or sell his art work, he had no freedom of expression. He travelled to different countries, holding exhibitions, selling his work and collaborating with different companies. In 2018 he went to France and Greece for 2 years and 11 months then on to Italy and Germany. While he was in Greece he also volunteered with an organisation called Khora, where people who wanted to learn Persian would come and speak to refugees, it was an amazing experience. He enjoyed Paris as he found it as an artistic and creative city but now he prefers London more as there is a lot of culture here and interest in his work, he also finds the people very nice, warm and helpful and the society is very active.
His favourite place is his room, being around his work, books and his art. Ali describes his art tools as his friends and his paintings as his children, but unfortunately when he sells them, (as is the nature of being an artist), he feels very sad parting with them. He describes his art as spiritual and mixes modern painting with calligraphy art. He can also sing and play the Cajon drums as well as play the Nay which is a reed flute. He feels energised and calm when he plays the drums.
If you are interested in potentially being an artist in residence, and you have a practice rooted in creativity, health and wellbeing please contact us email@example.com