Work by an Afghan artist stuck in Iran has caused excitement in an unlikely place — rural South Australia.

Fereshteh Ahmadi’s husband, Mohammad Mohammadi, came to Australia from Afghanistan on a sponsored visa 14 years ago and now works at the JBS abattoir in Bordertown.

They met and married while Mr Mohammadi was visiting Iran two years ago, but they have not been able to be together since then because the Taliban will not release passports to refugees, such as Ahmadi, in Iran.

Mr Mohammadi recently asked her to send her some of her artwork to him in Australia, but he did not tell his wife why.

He was unsure about the reception the work would get, but when he showed it to Naomi Fallon, who runs the Walkway Gallery in Bordertown, she was blown away.

“When Mohammad first brought the work in, I think there was a moment of silence when I unrolled it, because I didn’t quite believe what I was seeing,” Ms Fallon said.

“It’s absolutely amazing work, so [we’re] very happy to support it.”

Mohammad Mohammadi with an artwork by the Ngarrindjeri artist Ellen Trevorrow.(Supplied: Sarah Cunningham)

‘Really proud of it’

Six of Ahmadi’s larger hyper-realistic pencil drawings are now on display at the Tatiara District Council’s civic centre in Bordertown, about 12,000 kilometres away from where she lives.

Ms Fallon says it is hard to fathom the adversity women face in Afghanistan and Iran.

“Just the bravery she has – and her parents’ support and Mohammad’s support – in actually sourcing some private drawing and painting lessons so she can continue doing this thing that she absolutely loves is amazing, I think,” Ms Fallon said.

“It’s quite easy for us to support her by hanging artwork on the wall and it’s just such a lovely gesture that our community are really embracing it — our community are loving it.”

Mr Mohammadi said he was “really happy” about the reception his wife’s art has received in Bordertown.

“I’m really proud of it and I want to get her around the world and achieving,” he said.

In a note on display next to her artwork, Ahmadi says she is glad to have her work on show.

“I didn’t know he would find a place to exhibit them for me,” the note reads.

“I am very happy about it because some of the drawings can be seen in your town.”

Ahmadi’s artwork has received a positive reception in Bordertown.(Supplied: Sarah Cunningham)

Commissions rolling in

People in Bordertown have been asking for Ahmadi to do drawings of them and their family members.

“We know a lot of people would like their loved ones and special pictures drawn or painted by her, so we’re just trying to facilitate that relationship as well,” Ms Fallon said.

“Her hearing that hopefully gives her a bit of a spring in her step, that her work is great and very well supported.”

Money from the sales of the artwork will go towards the purchase of art supplies for Ahmadi in Iran.

The works will be on display until April 20.

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