Arts at the Old Fire Station and Modern Art Oxford present the first major exhibition of portraits by photographer Kazem Hakimi.
Well-known in the East Oxford community, Hakimi has been taking photographs for 30 years; for the past two years he has been working specifically on the OX4 project presented in these exhibitions.
Hakimi has recorded his community by posing his customers against the same white wall at the back of his fish and chip shop on the Iffley Road in East Oxford. “My customers are a cross-section of society” he explains, “and the photographs reveal an Oxford which is very different to the image of the city known to the outside world: one that is multi-ethnic and diverse. This series celebrates the range of characters who have made Oxford the city I love.”
Emma Ridgway, Head of Programme at Modern Art Oxford says, “We are delighted to be working with Kazem Hakimi on this important exhibition. His dignified photographic portraits capture trust, warmth and compassion; the images invite us to share an intimate moment of emotional connection between the subject and artist. It is also inspiring that he creates these excellent portraits while running a full-time business, his chip shop as his studio. Kazem’s work centers on connectivity and has brought together our collaboration with the Old Fire Station.“
Jeremy Spafford, Director of Arts at the Old Fire Station says, “We are thrilled to be working with Modern Art Oxford to co-host an exhibition about the people who live in the city today by a wonderful local artist. Kazem’s portraits are honest, dignified, funny and skilfully taken; they capture the personality of the sitter. Everyone is treated the same, and they are an excellent snapshot of the real Oxford.”
Hedley Swain, Area Director, South East, Arts Council England adds, “Kazem’s Portraits from a Chip Shop is a beautiful example of how art can be unexpected, happening in unusual places and capturing people in their day-to-day lives. It is also a joyous example of how art can embrace anyone and everyone. We’re really pleased to be able to support this project through our National Lottery funded Grants for the Arts programme.”
This collaborative two-venue exhibition showcases Hakimi’s passion for the city and its people.
This exhibition is supported by the Arts Council England Grants for the Arts fund.
Born in Shiraz, Iran in 1960, Hakimi moved to Oxford in the 1980s and studied Civil Engineering at Oxford Polytechnic, where he spent most of his time in the Photography department, mastering his art over the last 30 years. Hakimi has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions across Oxfordshire at The North Wall Arts Centre, OVADA, Art Jericho, The Jam Factory and Modern Art Oxford. In 2008, his work was published in the book An Eye for Iran: The Photographs of Kazem Hakimi.