Mohammed Afkhami’s family fled Iran after the revolution but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming interested in collecting Contemporary art from Iran. Those works are added to his family’s own holdings of Islamic art and his other collecting interests like vintage advertising posters:
Today, he possesses some 400 pieces, about 70 of which he keeps on display in a custom-built apartment in Dubai. “I bought five apartments on one floor and knocked out all the walls. There’s a corridor of 50 meters silo-ed into small rooms,” he says.
Although he is keen to point out that his collection is not solely Iranian, there’s no doubt that those works are closest to his heart. “It gives me a connection with my own country, on my own terms, without the politics,” he explains.
Collecting is also a way of sustaining the centuries-old culture for which Iran is renowned. “I like to be supportive [of Iranian artists] because they don’t have much in the way of state benefits.” He is proud of having formed a close bond with several artists. In New York, he dines regularly with Neshat, Kami and Ali Banisadr and “rocks up” to their studios whenever possible.
Mohammed Afkhami on how he built his art collection (Financial Times)