I am 35 years old, I come from Iran and I was married three years ago. My husband is studying at Aston University, doing his PhD in Electronic Engineering and because of him I'm here in Birmingham now.
For an Iranian getting a visa for the UK is hard but we were so lucky because before here we lived in Italy for seven months and we applied from there. Recently the British embassy in Iran closed down because of political issues.
I'm an artist, a sculptor. At first when I came to the UK I was a little upset because in Iran I had a good career, I was in a good situation, I had an exhibition and I sold my sculptures. When I came to the UK I had to start from the first step, I had to find connections. I started working on my collections and thought naturally I would find connections here. I am completely positive about the situation.
During my childhood my parents supported me to go to a painting course but when I became older and chose to be a professional artist my parents didn't agree with it because they were concerned that I wouldn't earn any money. But I insisted and I was the person who decided about my future.
I graduated from University of Tehran in Sculpture and then in Illustration. For two years I worked with publishers in Iran. I went to a private institute and I was taught a Russian style in figurative sculpture.
I think artists in society try to challenge boundaries and limitations. They try to make new questions that will make people think. It’s so important for me that I can try to do that. As an artist you should have a critical mind even about many common things. I think about all sorts of things all the time. I even have dialogues with myself. Nothing is obvious for me. I don't make assumptions of what things are, I look beyond the surface.
In some cases there are lots of differences between Iran and the UK. But when you live between people and communicate, you can see that people from all over the world have lots of common behavior and ways of thinking. Maybe for the first month you think there are lots of differences but now I am really comfortable and can have communication with people.
I can't really divide these two concepts [art and life], no artist works in isolation, they work within the discourse that they live in. They reflect society and also they create a situation to influence society. We can't separate it.
This interview is part of a series of stories of migrants in Birmingham produced by participants of Migrant Voice's 'Many Faces, One City' project. The project celebrates the contribution of migrants to life in Birmingham. It brought together migrants and host community in Birmingham to build their skills in telling stories of migration through text, photo, film and social media.