Ali is part of Sassan Behnam Bakhtiar’s Invincible series of digital editions. The image derives from the artist’s acclaimed ongoing body of work, which expresses the pride and strength of the Iranian people both collectively and as individuals. To the artist, each Iranian person is a warrior, a hero, an angel and a modern gladiator in the context of a troubled recent history. Sassan’s oeuvre is heavily inspired by Persian mythology, specifically the Shahnameh (The Book of Kings).
In Ali, a photographic portrait of an Iranian person is surrounded by and bedecked in patterns derived from the traditional tapestry worn in Iran. The tapestry, which symbolises the stories and wisdom of the Iranian people, forms a kind of armour around the central image. Diverse patterns and motifs commonly seen in Iranian art and craft surround the photograph. The artist states, "There is a bit of everything in it, some is fictional, the rest is literally how I see that person in my head."