Amin Roshan


It is not easy to say why I have chosen oil. Living in an oil land and an oil family is not the sole answer. The main reason may be its extensive impact and influence, not only on my life and my family, but also on the geography of Iran. 

British presence in “Masjed Soleiman” city was the onset of Iran and Middle East industrialization. Britons lived there for 60 years, some were born and some were died in the city, their graves can still be seen with English fonts; the only intact relic. However I can see a lot of British relics, like its effect on my tribe “Bakhtiari” language and dialect, who still use English words. I was also influenced by this event. 

Once, in December 1919, Henry Berenger said: “He who owns oil ... has empire.” Though correct Berenger words, oil brought a flood of loss to the land of Iran, lasting up to date, instead of empire. 

I was born where the first oil well in the Middle East was discovered, Naftoon district of “Masjed Soleiman” city located in the southwestern of Iran, somewhere near the border of Iran and Iraq. 

My grandfather was a hardworking laborer who worked on these wells for many years. After retirement, he was replaced by my father who retired after 34 years and my older brother took his place. I was 12 years old when my family left the city because of toxic gases release, but all the memories are still vivid to me. Smell of oil streams, childhood games with tar, walking over oil pipelines in the way of school ..., all are still alive for me. Today I draw these childhood images on painting canvas with oil material, crude oil. I collect this crude oil from a valley in Masjed Soleiman. The oil accumulates there from about a hundred years ago and converts the soil to a strange matter, something like black mud but with the color and smell of oil.

I print this material on my works through “silk screen printing.”