Golnaz Fathi (b. 1972)

Born in Tehran, in 1972, Golnaz Fathi is an influential member of a currently thriving generation of artists to surface in Iran over the last twenty years.


While studying graphic design at Azad University in Tehran, Fathi became fascinated by the expressive potential of traditional Persian calligraphic forms and immersed herself in a sustained six-year study of traditional calligraphy. She became one of only a handful of women trained to the highest level within that discipline. At this point, Fathi made the conscious decision to fulfil her career as an artist rather than to continue within the privileged world of pure Islamic calligraphy, practiced predominantly by male calligraphers.


Fathi investigated ever more abstract forms of representation, using modern media to aid these explorations, while still basing her work on fundamental calligraphic practices and techniques. The introduction of bold swatches of colour further emphasised her transition from a codified system based on prescriptive rules to an alternative idiom that gave precedence to her own imaginative modes of subjective expression.


Fathi’s works are in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Brighton & Hove Museum, England; Carnegie Mellon University, Doha; the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur; Asian Civilizations Museum, Singapore; British Museum, London; Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi; and The Farjam Collection, Dubai.


Golnaz Fathi has received a number of awards including the Best Woman Calligraphist in Ketabat Style in 1995 by the Iranian Society of Calligraphy in Tehran and was chosen by a jury as a Young Global Leader Honoree in 2011 at the Sharjah Calligraphy Biennale. She has also exhibited in museums and galleries around the world including in Hong Kong, New York, Paris, New Delhi, China, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Germany, and Switzerland.