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Street Sculptor

If you happen to pass by the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Tehran, you cannot fail to notice a man making and selling wire sculptures on the street outside. He is Akbar Fazlipanah, who started this work almost by accident five years ago.

Before that, he had worked for years in factories and workshops, doing various jobs from welding and printing to making samovars. Meanwhile he had also succumbed to drug addiction. Eventually, he decided to change the course of his life completely by quitting his monotonous job and, more importantly, trying to give up drugs.

It was in those difficult days of fighting the addiction that he started experimenting with shaping some pieces of metal wire that he had found by chance. This was the beginning of a process that would change his fortune forever.

Fazlipanah is now a successful artist, with many people eager to buy his sculptures and some placing large orders for them. He starts making his wire sculptures in the street or in the metro but often completes them at home in Varamin, a town to the south of Tehran. They are mainly human figurines, often depicting a couple. The women are usually taller and are placed in front of the men.  This is a tribute to his wife, who stood by him throughout the years when everyone else had deserted him.

In this multimedia report, we hear Fazlipanah’s account of his life and work, and see some of his fascinating sculptures.

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