Words: Charlotte Middleton
The arts community is mourning leading Iranian-Australian artist Hossein Valamanesh, who passed away on 15 January 2022. The artist is being remembered for his powerful and poetic practice, for which he was awarded the Grand Prix at the Biennale in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1998, a Member of the Order of Australia in 2011, the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship in Washington DC in 2014 and the Adelaide Film Festival’s Art Moving Image Commission in 2015.
Born in 1949 in Iran, Hossein drew on the cultural and natural worlds of his birthplace and his adoptive home of Australia in his art, exploring the entwined spheres of love, spirituality, and nature with frequent references to the artist’s abiding interest in poetry, especially the texts of Persian poet Djalâl ad-Dîn Rûmî.
Hossein presented more than 30 solo exhibitions around the world in his lifetime. His work is held in many significant collections in Australia including the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; Kadist Art Foundation, Paris; Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington; and Sara Hilden Art Museum, Finland, with the artist’s public art commissions also installed in Australia and Japan.
Hossein and his wife and frequent collaborator of 46 years, Angela Valamanesh, had been long been leaders in the national and international arts community before the late artist’s untimely passing. The couple’s art will feature strongly in the 2022 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Free/State, curated by Sebastian Goldspink, opening on 4 March at Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA), Adelaide.
“Despite Hossein’s tragic passing, his legacy will continue to inspire, astonish and resonate with our visitors every day here at AGSA,” said gallery director Rhana Devenport ONZM. “We are grateful to Angela for soon presenting her and Hossein’s collaborative work as part of the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Free/State, which once again demonstrates their rich artistic and personal relationship.”
Our thoughts are with Hossein’s wife Angela and family during this time.
This article was originally published 20 January 2022.
Image:Hossein Valamanesh with his work ‘Untitled’, Gallery 6, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide in 2019. Courtesy: AGSA, Adelaide.