Taher Asad-Bakhtiari (Iranian, b. 1982) is a self-taught artist whose practice revolves around objects, textiles, and experiences, among others. Born in Tehran in 1982, Asad-Bakhtiari studied in Canada and Switzerland, currently residing in Tehran, Dubai, and New York. His bodies of work explore his heritage, including the kilim weavings of the Bakhtiari tribe as well as oil barrels referencing his status as a part of the generation of Iranian "oil babies." Asad-Bakhtiari's "The Tribal Weave Project" is his attempt to revive and reinvent a disappearing cultural craft, while "Recovered Barrels" takes a ubiquitous sight throughout Tehran, repurposing them yet retaining their multipurpose nature.
About his "Recovered Barrels," Asad-Bakhtiari explains, "Cleaned and all spruced up, the finished products are a cross between recycled art, environmental art, and upcycle. Each one is unique in style and color and continue to be multifunctional. Rescued from a fate of total destruction, the barrels tell a story of diversion, barter, overcoming resistance, metamorphosis, and recovery. As such, they stand as a testament to Iran's modern and torturous history: from riches to dust, from shiny new to battered and barely surviving, from frivolity to austerity and then slow re-conversion.... [they] stand as a subtle reminder that in a city of extremes, it is the simple things that tell the biggest stories."