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Soheila Sokhanvari works in something of a sanctuary, which is apposite considering that her work is inspired in part by illuminated manuscripts. Nestled in green, villagey space outside Cambridge, her neo-monastic studio is a whitewashed, tin-roofed room owned by the Wysing Arts Centre; one of a row of connected spaces whose slanted ceilings and split-pane doors suggest they might have once been stables. This, too, is appropriate as she has previously created sculptures around taxidermy horses.
Sepia-toned images hang in a neat row on the simple white walls, showing groups of laughing holidaymakers and fashionable young things posing on car bonnets. These could be reproductions of 1960s Hollywood promo shots, but in fact they are pictures copied from the artist’s family photo album, lovingly inked in shades of Iranian crude oil. This is the first hint that things may not be quite as they first appear. (more…)