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Current time:0:00Total duration:4:41

Takhti: a modern Iranian hero, exhibition at the British Museum

Video transcript

this is a work called stati by Foster o Hassan's Adi who is one of Iran's most prominent artists who lives most of the time in Iran and the wonderful thing about his work is how he's able to combine Iranian tradition and history and put it in a very very modern idiom this work features this very important wrestler called tatty who is regarded as a world hero and in Persian it's Jahan palawan and he is in a sense a national icon and he is not only a wrestler but he embodied all sorts of qualities kindness and gentleness that iranian zed marta day tati was an Olympic medalist he won medals at helsinki in 52 and then gold medal in Melbourne in 56 what austra hassanzadeh has done in this work is that he has placed tufte this this iranian national hero this jahan palawan within a setting which is like a shrine and what this echoes are these temporary shrines which you find in iran they called Headley and they're put up to commemorate the person who's died and so he's put him within that context with these little gently flashing lights and he's surrounded him with objects which not only relate to wrestling so we see his medals we see replica of the cup all sorts of things like the trousers that these wrestlers wear and an armband very very importantly the armband which is called a buzzy band and he's also put all sorts of other objects around tufte which relate completely to Iranian Shia tradition and religion so we have images of imam ali we have prayers to imam honey we have imam ali's split sword the assault for car and many other objects of this kind which relate very very strongly to iranian tradition it's like a very humble that's what is like very humble agendas tati as a as a young man at the age of about 15 started to go to the zoo honey the zohan a literally translates as houses strength and it's where for generations people have been going to do these bodybuilding exercises and where they also used to practice wrestling and so he learnt all of these types of exercises and those very important ritual attached to these exercises so traditionally they've always wielded these kinds of clubs or chains and also part of the exercises they use these these big boards which are called sank and these actually represent the doors that Imam Ali when he broke down the fortress at Hoeber he's actually represents the door that he broke down and so what's so interesting as far as the DES or honey and all these exercises that there is that they are completely embedded in Shia tradition and history this work was acquired in 2007 and it fits very much with our policy of collecting the work of contemporary artists from the Middle East we have a growing collection of such material but what is particularly exciting about this piece is how it's a modern work but everything about it links to Iranian history and tradition and so is very much a British Museum object