Batool Showghi was born in Iran and moved to England in 1985. She received a merit for her MA in Design & Media Arts from the University of Westminster in 1997 just after finishing her BA honours from the London Guildhall University. In 2001 she received a Certificate of Education from the University of Westminster. While continuing her art practice, she taught at Harrow College from 1998 until 2015 as a part time lecturer. Since then she has dedicated her time to her art and exhibiting her work in both solo and group exhibitions in England and abroad.
Batool is a multidisciplinary artist who has a passion for artists’ books. Her work moves between photography, illustration, painting and textiles evolving from single images to books, images in boxes, installations and mixed media work.
Showghi’s artwork is concerned with her cultural heritage, memory, identity and loss. She wants to examine the physical limits that women can experience with regard to cultural and religious boundaries.
She frequently returns to Iran to draw inspiration and source new material. Her vocabulary is diverse and she transforms documents, calligraphy, portraits, patterns and everyday objects into beautiful and densely layered pieces. She works with photographs, digital manipulation, fabric, stitching, paint and paper to produce her unique and individual images and pieces in a process that has become a ritualised activity.
Showghi's work has been exhibited since 1988 here and abroad. She has shown in London at: the Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions, The Mall Galleries, the Phoenix Art Gallery in Brighton, Harrow Open Studios, The Asia House Fair, London Art Book Fairs and at the Stock By Nayland Festival.She has also exhibited in museums, galleries and universities and most recently in Tehran at the Golestan Palace Museum and at the International Contemporary Art Fair Artrooms at The Melia White House Hotel.
Showghi's work can be found in public and private collections, e.g. Tate Britain, The British Library, The Royal Navy Museum in Portsmouth (five books for the ‘New Found Treasures’ exhibition), the Museum of Art and Literature, Yerevan, Armenia, Middlesex University, Thames Valley and Canterbury University, the Aaran Gallery in Tehran, and in many private collections.
Showghi is a member of the Society of Designer Craftsmen and the Harrow Open Studios. Her studio is open to the public in June. She frequently returns to Iran to draw inspiration and source new material.
A review on my work shown at Artrooms fair in January 2019 by Eddie Hewitt
This was one of the most charming rooms in the exhibition, made poignant by reference to painful memories. There was a sense of trying to recapture treasured aspects of a former way of life. Telling of loss, and the struggle to maintain identity and cultural practices. Batool is an Iranian artist who fled her homeland after the war with Iraq in the early 1980s.
In her craft, she reflects on the themes of turbulence, immigration and re-establishing one’s life in an unknown environment. She talks of the
“disintegration of the family and the experience of displacement”.
This is a very human story. With a determination to hold on to and share things that matter.
In her display there is some blurring between the actual and the fictional. The beautiful photo collage is described in the catalogue notes by the artist as a fantasy of bringing the family together. Something that is possible at least in the imagination, if not in reality due to geographic, temporal or other constraints. The series of tapestries made from coloured scraps of fabric are both fun and complex. An assembly of faces; white, brown, even pale blue. Everyone is connected and restrained by red thread, sewn onto a background of passports and birth certificates. They made me think about the lives of their owners and I'm still wondering.