Kamyar Bineshtarigh

Kamyar Bineshtarigh, Studio


Working in a variety of media, notably painting and video, Kamyar Bineshtarigh’s conceptual concerns range from language, (mis)communication, and the practice of writing and transliteration. He is also interested in geopolitical concerns of movement, migration and the (in)voluntary displacement of human beings.

Bineshtarigh was born in 1996 in Semnan, Iran. He lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa, and his work implicitly reflects on the shared textual aesthetic of these seemingly “unlike” / unconnected parts of the world.  Kamyar Bineshtarigh is represented by Suburbia Contemporary since January. Bineshtarigh’s solo exhibition “koples boek(e)”, currently showing at the Goethe-Institut in Johannesburg (November 2021 – March 2022), explores the textuality, public narratives, and archives of Arabic-Afrikaans. This was also his graduation show at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town (UCT). Bineshtarigh has participated in several group exhibitions including “My Whole Body Changed into Something Else” (2021) at Stevenson Gallery (Cape Town and Johannesburg) and “Shaping Things” (2020) at SMAC gallery. Inspired by the freedom that comes with a DIY-spirit, between 2020 and 2021 Bineshtarigh curated his own independent solo show showcasing his body of work “(Hafez) The Tongue of the Unseen Realms” in an exhibition space in a factory warehouse in Salt River, Cape Town. Bineshtarigh’s debut solo exhibition – Pilgrim – opened at Everard Read/CIRCA Gallery (Cape Town) as part of their cubicle series in 2019.

Fairs: ICTAF Cape Town Art Fair 2022, ICTAF Digital Edition 2021, SWAB Barcelona Art Fair

Before his BA in Fine Art at Michaelis, Bineshtarigh received a Diploma in Fine Art at Ruth Prowse School of Art in 2019 where he also won the Ruth Prowse Award for his body of work “An Exhaustive Catalogue of Texts Dealing with the Orient”, which explored Edward Said’s concept of Orientalism using Said’s eponymous book (1978) as the source material. In 2021 Bineshtarigh was awarded a Creative Knowledge Resources (CKR) Fellowship: CKR is an interdisciplinary project by the National Research Foundation & UCT studying socially engaged artistic practices in Africa and its diaspora. 

"Untitled (Ghazal No. 125)", 2021, Printing ink on cotton, 35x35 cm
"Untitled (Ghazal No. 321)", 2021, Printing ink on denim, 117x103 cm

koples boek(e) is an exhibition by Kamyar Bineshtarigh that explores the textuality of Arabic-Afrikaans, curated by Amogelang Maledu. It forms part of an ongoing research project to stimulate conversation about the public narratives and archives of Arabic-Afrikaans.

The exhibition was first presented at the Goethe Institut, Johannesburg, South Africa between 20 November 2021 and 31 March 2022.


Untitled (Ghazal No. Ghazal No. 210, 456)
Kamyar Bineshtarigh "Untitled" (Ghazal No. 210, 456)
"Untitled (Ghazal No. 162)", 2021, Printing ink on canvas, 114x77 cm

Artist statement for Untitled (Ghazal no.359,39,389,198)

This project constitutes 60+ ghazals of Hafez at 60+ moments of uncertainty. For centuries, it has been a Persian tradition to consult Hafez when confronted with a difficult decision. This practice is called “Fal-e Hafez” (the divination of Hafez). When used in divination, it is believed that Divan of Hafez will reveal the answer to one’s question; therefore his Divan was referred to as Lesan al-Ghayb (the Tongue of the Unseen Realms). These 60+ ghazals are my “Fals of Hafez” as the bases of this body of work.

Hafez, of the 13th Century, is considered the most prominent Persian poet. His influence is felt to this day. His poetry expresses love, spirituality, and religious hypocrisy. Perhaps the most intriguing element of Hafez’s poetry is its ambiguity: it is almost impossible to pin down any of his verses. Journalist Omid Safi once described Hafez’s work as “a Rorschach psychological test in poetry”. Hafez is a mystic himself. His name means “who has committed the Quran to heart”. Yet Hafez despises religious hypocrisy. His faith is indisputable, and yet his poetry is filled with references to intoxication and wine that may be literal, according to seculars, or symbolic, to religious conservatives.

"Untitled (Ghazal No. 422)", 2020, Printing ink on canvas, 53x47 cm