a light blue and purple background. a digital drawing of a blackbird sitting on barbed wire. it is drawn quite quickly and loosely. the image is a still from an animated film called Birds or Borders

Parham Ghalamdar, Birds or Borders, still from digital animation (2020)

New Commission: Parham Ghalamdar – Birds or Borders. Part of our #COVIDCommissions programme

University of Salford Art Collection Covid Commissions #4: Parham Ghalamdar with Castlefield Gallery



The University of Salford is delighted to announce Parham Ghalamdar as the fourth of six artists selected for new commissions for the Collection – aiming to capture contemporary experiences during the pandemic, as well as supporting artists who may have otherwise lost work.


Ghalamdar has been commissioned in partnership with Castlefield Gallery to make new work for the University of Salford Art Collection. Birds or Borders is the title of a short film created using stop-motion techniques, drawing, and collages of found footage. The film engages with socio-political subjects such as freedom of movement, in a poetic approach to depicting a state of suspension, a situation which most people have experienced during the Covid-19 disruptions.  In order to animate such a subject, the film attempts to explore the medium of time by proposing an “Absurdist anti-narrative structure of story-telling where there are no punch lines to any of the sequences.”

Ghalamdar says about the work:

“The “Birds or Borders” is objectively exploring the medium of expanded painting and drawing, stretched out with digital tools and heavily influenced by the Soviet Montage Theories. The object is to accumulate and communicate information in a disciplined manner.

The subject of the work is borrowed from the Covid-19 disruptions. During the lock down each and every one of us has experienced a unique context in lack of freedom of movement: people were not authorized to leave their houses. However the restriction of movement is nothing new. Asylum seekers, refugees, immigrants and people holding week passports have been dealing with life-threatening forms of such limitations; Trump’s travel ban is perhaps an radical example of it. Hopefully this situation would result in having more sympathy with each other.”

still from a film. an abstract image with black line and blue lines

still from an animation. the background is light pink. a digital drawing of a blackbird sat on barbed wire. the drawing is sketchy and quick,

Birds or Borders (2020), stills from animation.

a white and yellow background. a small drawing of a bird sat on barbed wire.

Stephanie Fletcher, Assistant Curator, University of Salford Art Collection says:

“The politics and policing of ‘borders’ are perhaps now more in focus than ever in light of the multiple global upheavals around us: from Brexit and asylum policy, to the climate crisis and Covid 19. Parham’s careful and timely work explores the concurrent experiences of urgency and delay at the border: a frustrating sense of only being able to watch and wait for uncertain futures. His recent animation work is an exciting development in his practice, and the commissioned video will be a valuable addition to our permanent Collection”

Helen Wewiora, Director of Castlefield Gallery adds:

“I first encountered Parham’s work at his degree show where I selected him to join our mentee scheme at Castlefield Gallery. I was immediately struck by his vibrant colour palette and the surreal forms that dominate his paintings. Parham’s work is bold and confident, yet has a delicate sensibility that touches you, and for me personally his work never tires. The more I have got to know Parham during his time with the gallery, the more interesting I have found his practice, and I was delighted to hear about his recent experiments with animation, a medium he had been thinking about for some time but lockdown had catalysed in him turning his attention to. I was amazed at how quickly Parham was mastering animation and working with the moving image, seamlessly bringing together his passion for drawing and painting without compromise, into the digital realm. For me this was another example of Parham’s clear commitment to practice, and demonstrates his approach to applying creative solutions to the challenges that life throws at us, something we might all might learn from.”

The full video will be released online in August 2020, then exhibited at our New Adelphi Exhibition Gallery in our 2021 programme.


Ghalamdar is an Iranian-born painter, animator, researcher, and curator based in Manchester. He is currently pursuing his MA Painting at Manchester School of Art. Oil painting and drawing are at the core of his practice which explores the histories and traditions of Western painting to create disciplined images. Due to the Covid-19 disruptions and inaccessibility to the studio, he has been exploring digital medias such as creating stop motion animations based on drawings and found footage collages.
https://www.ghalamdar.com/