Open main menu

Akbar Behkalam (born 1944 in Tabriz, Iran) is a German-Iranian painter and sculptor.

Akbar Behkalam
Tabriz, Iran
EducationTabriz Art School
Known forPainter
WebsiteOfficial site for Akbar Behkalam



Akbar Behkalam was born in Tabriz in 1944, the capital of the Iranian province East Azerbaijan. [1] From 1961 until 1964 he studied art at Tabriz art school. After his military service he moved to Istanbul, where he enrolled at the Mimar Sinan University in Fine Arts and became the student of professor Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu.

From 1972 until 1974 he lived in different European cities, including Paris, Frankfurt, Rome and Berlin.[2] In 1974 he went back to Iran, to teach at the Tabriz art school. In 1976, he left Iran for political reasons, and has since lived in Berlin. As of 1989 he has a studio in Brandenburg.

In 1989, he published the book, Movement and Change Paintings and Sketches: 1977-1988, [3]

He is married and has two children.


Akbar Behkalam's early works often deal with political subjects, but over time they became increasingly abstract.[4] His early works are influenced by the New European Realism, in a symbiosis with Persian miniature painting. His later works, up to present time can be described as abstract-expressive. A focal point of his works is the depiction of the formation and choreography of mass movements.

One recurring theme in his works is the turbulent history of his home country Iran: the series "Persepolis" (1977–1979) deals with old Persian iconography, that is confronted with the depiction of the execution squads of the Shah-regime. In the eighties he produced the series "Justice in Allah's Name", that has the religiously legitimized human rights violations of the Islamic Republic as its central theme.

From 1984-1986 Behkalam did extensive research on the German revolution of 1848 and produced several large scale paintings on that subject that were presented in his solo exhibition at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Berlin in 1986.

Behkalam has shown his works in many exhibitions in Europe, Asia and North and South America. In 2009 he has been the winner of the Tashkent Biennial in Uzbekistan.

Solo exhibitions (selection)Edit

  • 1975 Seyhun Gallery Tehran, Iran
  • 1981 Kunstamt Kreuzberg-Bethanien, Berlin, Germany
  • 1982 Kunstverein Offenbach, Germany
  • 1982 Städtische Galerie Schloß Oberhausen, Germany
  • 1987 Staatliche Kunsthalle Berlin, Germany
  • 1987 Städtische Galerie Schloß Oberhausen
  • 1987 Museum Bochum, Germany
  • 1987 Stadtgalerie Saarbrücken, Germany
  • 1988 Übersee Museum Bremen, Germany
  • 1989 California State University, Los Angeles, USA
  • 1990 Phoebe Conley Art Gallery, Fresno, USA
  • 1991 International Gallery on Broadway, Los Angeles, USA
  • 1991 Workshop III, Joao Pessoa, Paraiba, Brazil
  • 1993 Villa Oppenheim, Berlin, Germany
  • 1998 Gallery Georges Pompidou, Anglet/ Frankreich (with Bernd Kaute and Johannes Heisig)
  • 2005 Spreeport, Ver.di, Berlin
  • 2006 Kunsthalle Arnstadt (with Dorsten Klauke and Trak Wendisch)
  • 2010 Galerie Linneborn, Berlin

Group exhibitions (selection)Edit

  • 1977 Hommage à Nazim Hikmet, Kunstamt Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany
  • 1980 Künstler gegen den Krieg, NGBK, Berlin, Germany
  • 1981 30 Jahre BBK, Staatliche Kunsthalle Berlin, Germany
  • 1983 1933 - Wege zur Diktatur, Staatliche Kunsthalle Berlin, Germany
  • 1983 300 Jahre danach, Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts, Wien, Austria
  • 1983 Eine Woche im September, Galerie Hilger, Wien, Austria
  • 1984 Rationalisierung, Staatliche Kunsthalle Berlin, Germany
  • 1984 Otto-Nagel Preis 1984, Rathaus Wedding, Berlin, Germany
  • 1984 Ich lebe in Deutschland, Städtisches Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany
  • 1984 Goethe Institut Brüssel; Galerie Schöneberg Berlin, Germany
  • 1984 Der Krieg trifft jeden ins Herz, Palast der Künste, Minsk, Russia
  • 1986 Das andere Land, Groß Orangerie, Schloß Charlottenburg, Berlin / Museum Bochum / Paulskirche, Frankfurt/Main / Stadtgalerie Saarbrücken; Kultur unterm Turm, Germany
  • 1986 15 Berliner Künstler in Brasilien, Museu de Arte de São Paulo / Museu de Arte do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil
  • 1986 Berliner Stadtansichrten, Wien, Amsterdam, Nimwegen, London, Istanbul, Paris, Bonn, Berlin
  • 1987 15 Berliner Künstler in Brasilien, Paco Imperial, Rio de Janeiro / Centro de Convencoes, Recife, Brazil
  • 1987-1988 Momentaufnahme (Wanderausstellung durch Brasilien) Joao Pessoa, Paraiba / Museo de Arte Contemporana / Blumenau, Porto Allege, São Paulo, Curitiba / Caracas, Venezuela
  • 2009 5th Taschkent Biennial, Uzbekistan. First Prize.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Issa, Rose; Rūʼīn Pākbāz, Darius Shayegan (2001). Iranian contemporary art. Booth-Clibborn Editions. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-86154-206-9.
  2. ^ Issa, R., Pākbāz, R. and Shayegan, F., Iranian Contemporary Art, Booth-Clibborn Editions, 2001, p. 22
  3. ^ Behkalam, A., Movement and Change Paintings and Sketches: 1977-1988, Mazda Publishing, 1989
  4. ^ Scheiwiller, S.C. (ed.), Performing the Iranian State: Visual Culture and Representations of Iranian Identity, Anthem Press, 2014, p. 116