Tagsmart weekly discovery: Sara Shamsavari’s global identity

Born in Tehran in the midst of the Iranian revolution, multi-disciplinary artist Sara Shamsavari overcame childhood cancer while she and her family fled persecution.

Raised in London and educated at Camberwell School of Art and Design and Central Saint Martins, her experiences inspired her exploration of identity and engendered a profound desire to make a difference through art.

At a time of increased division, conflict and polarisation around the world, Shamsavari’s works explore and celebrate global identity. While each of her photographic series has a distinct focus, together, they all seek to encourage a deeper understanding of our nuances as human beings in contrast to the current popular narratives that misrepresent, malign and often succeed in dividing and ‘othering’ those in the minority.

London Veil was her first series, portraying young women wearing the hijab on the streets of London, Paris, New York and Toronto.


Her series Britain Retold: A Portrait of London is an exploration of British identity as known by the diverse communities living in London.


She has also contributed to series such as The Dandy Lion Project by curator Shantrelle P. Lewis, which challenges its audience to rethink the outlook of black men perpetuated in the media today.


With a belief that artists can be leaders in social and spiritual progress, Shamsavari seeks to encourage both participants and viewers in transforming the way we view society and ourselves.

Shamsavari’s work has been featured across various media and publications including BBC, The New York Times, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Elle, i-D and Dazed & Confused. Her work has been exhibited internationally in galleries, museums and public spaces and she has delivered a number of talks at cultural institutions, including Tate Britain and Southbank Centre.

Tell us something we don't know: why science can't show us much about art

I am happy to announce a new annual award, the Vincent Prize for Scientifically Proving the Bleeding Obvious about Art History. The first winners are the researchers who, the papers tell us, have used chemical analysis of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings to reveal the astonishing fact that – get this – his art changed after his mental breakdown in late 1888.

Well knock me over with a virtual feather. Without this research, I would never have noticed that the golden glow of Sunflowers, which Van Gogh painted in a blaze of optimism in the summer of 1888, while looking forward to Paul Gauguin joining him in the Yellow House, communicates a rather different mood to the spiky, agitated lines and violent greens of Long Grass with Butterflies, painted in 1890 in Saint-Paul Asylum.