The urban landscape through Tishk Barzanji’s eyes

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Originally from Iraq, Tishk Barzanji is an illustrator who has been based in London for almost ten years. The city’s brutalist architecture has had a clear influence on Barzanji’s work. He creates images in mixed media and digitally. His most intriguing work depicts labyrinth-like architectural spaces of a city that is built up in layers. Steps, angled walls, barriers, windows and tiled surfaces form a strange and empty world that appears to be suspended somewhere between a metropolis and a dream. The candy colours and the passing palm trees are reminiscent of a tropical land far from the English capital. The puzzle-like spaces are like an M.C Escher’ LA, flipped through a parallel universe.

A human presence lingers, in the form of black or red figures, plastic and mannequin-like in their blank anonymity. We are on the outside, looking into a place we don’t quite understand, perhaps it feels perfectly like home for its inhabitants, who only remain obscure to us because we don’t know what to look for. An elusive mixture of textures features in Barzanji’s work, he sometimes obviously combines photographs with illustrated work, sometimes the merging of mediums is more subtle. It’s effect is that of further displacement. Familiarity and the unsettling quality of an alien world are intertwined. If you like his style, you can find more from Tishk Barzanji on Instagram, where a regular stream of images is updated. His website showcases his wider range of work.