Partou ZIA

Partou ZIA

Born in Tehran, Persia, she received her formal introduction to art through its history at the University of Warwick, followed by an honours degree in fine art from the Slade (1986-91) and a PhD from the Falmouth Art College. Partou was Artist in Residence at Tate St Ives, 2003-4. From 1993 until her early death from cancer in 2008, she lived and worked in Cornwall.

In her obituary for The Guardian (2008) Professor Penny Florence, who supervised Partou's studies at Falmouth, wrote the following about her friend: 'At her death, Partou was preparing for publication a number of plays, stories and reflections, all of which are formally innovative and written in a clear and original voice. They convey a strong sense of her lightness and charm, and they enrich the understanding of her use of mythological allusion in painting.'

She was married to the artist Richard COOK.


Painter, draughtsman, philosopher and teacher

works and access

Her final two paintings:  And What is a Rose (July 2007) oil on canvas, 183 x 190 cm; Forty Days and Forty Nights (hung at the Tate St Ives for a period in tribute)

In Accord (2007) oil on canvas, 102 x 122 cm

Cedar Notes (2004) oil on canvas, 148 x 146 cm - New Hall Art Collection, University of Cambridge


Mixed group shows: From 1989, 'Young Contemporaries' exhibition at the Whitworth Gallery, Manchester; London, Exeter, Liverpool, Southampton, St Ives, and Newlyn

1998: Solo, NAG

1999: Solo, RCM

2000 & 2002: Art Space Gallery, London

2000: Solo, Plymouth Art Gallery

2003: Tate St Ives, 'Entering the Visionary Zone' solo

2004: Art First, London, 'Thought Paintings' solo

2005: Art First, London, 'The Grey Syllable' solo

2007: Tate St Ives, Art Now Cornwall Exhibition, Feb-May (selected group show)

2008: Art First, London & The Exchange, Penzance: Partou Zia, A Memorial Exhibition

2012: 'Soaring Spirits', Falmouth Art Gallery 23 June - 8 Sept

2019: The World as Yet Unseen, Falmouth Art Gallery (6 Apr-15 June)



misc further info

Her library of books and catalogues were gifted to the Hypatia Trust, and to the WCAA. A part of these were passed on at the request of her husband, Richard Cook, to the library of the Falmouth College of Art, where Partou received her PhD.


A stock of her paintings is handled by Art First Contemporary Art: and may be seen on-line

Her publications:  Church Paintings (1998); Entering the Visionary Zone (2003); 'In conversation with Sara Hughes' (2004, Art First); The Grey Syllable (2005, Art First)

Brittain, Sarah and Cook, Simon (2001) Behind the Canvas, 40 Artists working in West Cornwall;

Cross (2002) Catching the Wave (photo likeness, illus) pp184-6

Florence, Penny (4 April 2008) Obituary for Partou Zia, The Guardian

Hardie (1995) 100 Years/Diary p182 (photo likeness)

Hoyle, H (Apr 2011 Women Artists in Cornwall 'Partou Zia - Painter of Dreams'

Hoyle, H (Oct 2011 Women Artists in Cornwall 'Louise Connell at Falmouth Art Gallery'