┐ Sara Rahbar └

© Sara Rahbar, Untitled, from the series Love arrived & How red, photography, 2008

© Sara Rahbar, Trapped in Dark Night with Nowhere to Run, I Have Died a Million Times Every Night in this Bed (left) + Kurdistan Flag #5 (right), from the series Flags, mixed media + textiles, 2005-2010

© Sara Rahbar, Solitary (left) + Anonymously yours (right), from the series Confessions of a Sinner, mixed media, 2011/12

Rahbar seems to meditate on the flag like a monk would stare at an icon. “It represents my father and so many, many promises and hopes of tomorrow … It represents endless possibilities, escapes, and mirages … it’s a very loaded image for me,” Rahbar explained. “Years and years of memories, experiences and attachments, and what is the work but a direct reflection of my life? What I’m focusing on, and what is boiling, twisting and turning inside of me.”

(…)

“And I remember how I worked on one of my first flags. I was traveling from Tehran to Kurdistan with Hossein a very dear friend of mine. He was going to work as a soundman for a film and I was going to photograph Kurdistan and try to figure out my next project and what to do with the rest of my life.”

“We lived in Kurdistan together for months, I would write, take photographs and gather random found objects and textiles that were used for donkeys and horses and sew them onto my flag. I would sit somewhere, sew for a bit, roll up the flag, put it in my backpack, and continue to take photographs, everything was on the go and very natural and in the moment. I worked to work out the turbulence that existed within me; I was healing myself and at the same time communicating an immense pain as I always am with my work. The work is a byproduct of me; emotionally and mentally, it keeps me together. I take care of it and it takes care of me.” excerpt of article by Hrag Vartanian, in Hyperallergic. continue reading here.

More of Sara’s work here

┐ Farhad Ahrarnia └

© Farhad Ahrarnia, ballet pars no.3
HAND EMBROIDERY ON DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY PRINTED ON CANVAS
SILK & COTTON THREAD AND NEEDLES, 2008-10

© Farhad Ahrarnia, beautiful is the silence of ruins II
photography on canvas and embroidery, 2011

More of Farhad’s work here

┐ Shirana Shahbazi └

© Shirana Shahbazi, Mercedes, from the series Flowers, fruits, portraits, 2008

© Shirana Shahbazi, Stilleben, from the series Flowers, fruits, portraits, 2008

Echoing statements by Roland Barthes, Shahbazi commented recently, “Photography is a simple, stupid medium.”2 In fact, photography is dumbfounding; it communicates in a purely visual language. Yet, without a frame to contextualize these visions, photography fails to speak.
Most recently for Shahbazi, that context has been the normalized cultural forms of photography, those genre images of landscape, portrait, and still life whose history lies less with photography than with painting. Yet her photographs draw our attention to the limits of those genres. With the still lifes, Shahbazi takes her cue from seventeenth-century Dutch painting, capturing natural curiosities: orchids, minerals, fruits, vegetables, and so on. Unlike her Dutch predecessors, however, she presents these vignettes floating on a monochromatic background, excised from their origins as Protestant images of exoticism. The portraits and landscapes are haunted by similar displacements. In Shahbazi’s hands, portraits of certain individuals are repeated throughout a larger sequence. Each portrait is taken from a slightly different angle. Across these movements, the viewer becomes uncertain if the artist or the sitter has changed position; identities become confused, and the photographic portrait’s sense for capturing individuality is exiled across a series of photographic events. The landscapes from Meanwhile, in contrast, are less subjective than placeless. To borrow a term used by German photographer Michael Schmidt to describe the places that he has photographed, the landscapes in Shahbazi’s photographs are irgendwo (somewhere), thus lacking particularity.3 While we cannot deny the indexical nature of her landscape photographs, we are also struck by how their sense of place escapes specificity. Despite engaging a history of representational imagery that spans many media, Shahbazi, in her use of these genre images, displaces painting’s subjectivity and historicity for photography’s immediacy.

excerpt from Chris Balaschak’s text. Full version at hammer.ucla.edu

More of Shirana’s work can be seen at gallery Bob Van Orsouw.

║ Zeinab Salarvand ║

© Zeinab Salarvand, Untitled, from the series Interior, Exteriorer, 2007

© Zeinab Salarvand, Untitled, from the series Interior, Exteriorer, 2007

“Standing on pedestrian bridges, observing people in their fast moving shiny wheel-boxes, fantasizing about each and every story of theirs or sitting on the top of a hill looking down on the City, staring at the numerous lights and neon, watching the people and their lifestyles… is my hobby for years.
Now, I’m above all of those straight and curvy lines, small boxes and buildings which I myself surely passed by once. Among them, there is a place in which someone I know spends most of his time …
Each little box is a reminder to the so many people who are now living in, one with his colorful bedcovers, the other with so many books, one with her toys, over there another with his asthma spray beside….
There is a saying that the very root of photography is surveying, observing life on behalf God’s eyes; a look from above; a basic view. Alike maps, the ancestors of pictures, I followed beds and bedcovers from the same angle. Decently, the successor of God’s eye went into people’s private sanctum…
In many traditions and cultures, Human-beings are considered as a portion of a “Whole” namely the universe; a small model of creation. To me, those small boxes environing the life and spirit of each citizen; trigger the same concept, textures which complete the “Whole”…
I intended to become a documentary photographer and capture people, urban life and streets in frames.., but the City and the grotesque look of its people scared me to be so… hence no way left to relate and capture but observing it from above, with a fair distance… and then gradually moving towards the most private and intimate perimeters of those only, whom I could get close safely. The ones I know or love.
My passion to the City grows on these rather than roaming through its streets and places…
This collection covers documentary shots of my City, the people of Tehran in 2007.”

Zeinab Salarvand

║ Sara Rahbar ║

© Sara Rahbar, Flag #15 With these Eyes, fromThe Flag series, 2008

© Sara Rahbar, Untitled #10, from the series You are safe here with me, 2008

“We left our woes behind, with only echoes of our previous lives remaining. Seeking continuation, time and refuge, human beings attempting to survive our selves, our lives, and our present locations.

My work is my story told, it is a direct reflection of the constant questioning of the who I am, what and where is home, and why I am here. It is the mirror image of my life, my geographic locations, my history, my present, my environments and my memories.

Metamorphosing and transforming for the means of surviving it all, our foundations lay, but our houses have burned to the ground. Building castles in the sky, for a species that cannot fly, brick by limb we tear it down. Thinking that we are moving forwards, yet moving backwards all along.”

Gajar woman and golden toys, we wait for dawn.

Artist Statement

More of Sara’s work can be seen here

║ Shadi Ghadirian ║

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 © Shadi Ghadirian, Domestic Life #4, from the series Like Every Day (Domestic Life), 2002

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 © Shadi Ghadirian, Domestic Life #7, from the series Like Every Day (Domestic Life), 2002

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© Shadi Ghadirian, Domestic Life #13, from the series Like Every Day (Domestic Life), 2002

“Ghadirian made her Like Every Day Series after her marriage to fellow photographer, Peyman Hooshmand-zadeh. In this body of work, Ghadirian comments upon the daily repetitive routine to which many women find themselves consigned and by which many women are defined. Each of these color photographs depicts a figure draped in patterned fabric in place of the typical Iranian chador. However, instead of a face, each figure has a common household item such as an iron, a tea cup, a broom, a pot or a pan.”

source: aeroplastics

To see more of Shadi’s work click here

║ Anoush Abrar ║

"Catherine", 95x121 cm, c-print, 2003

© Anoush Abrar, Catherine, from the series Californication, 2003

"Marianna", 95x121 cm, c-print, 2003

© Anoush Abrar, Marianna, from the series Californication, 2003

“The film studios, the celebrities, the entertainment capital of the United States- the state of California revolves around the film industry and its success. Projecting an image of fame and fortune, beauty and happiness, Hollywood draws people like a magnet.
I started this photo project in Los Angeles because I wanted to get as close as possible to the young people who flocked to this city seeking fame and fortune. The main idea was to focus on women ? the hopeful starlets and models ? because, as opposed to the men, I felt that they have more opportunities for success through appearances in TV shows, TV advertisements, lingerie campaigns, and erotic calendars.
In a world where maximum media exposure is akin to success and image is everything, any and all television, magazine, cinema, and Internet coverage is important, sought after and in a sense, vital. Running from casting to casting, appearing on shows and getting their photographs taken, these women will stop at nothing to be noticed.
What are they ready to do to achieve their dream? How far will they go to achieve celebrity status? Who are these girls that come from all over the world. What drives them? What do they look like? Through body care, excessive aerobics, gym visits, and even plastic surgery, they try to create the perfect image that caters to the whims and demands of the cinema and star industry.
Following the casting trail, I easily established contact with some of the models I portray in these images and found others by creating a casting call on the Internet.”

Anoush Abrar

To see more of Anoush’s work click here

║ Shirin Neshat ║

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© Shirin Neshat, Untitled, from the series Zarin, 2005

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© Shirin Neshat, Untitled, from the series Zarin, 2005

“My themes always seem to develop as a personal inquiry toward certain issues that I am faced with as an individual; for example my resentment and questions toward political powers or events such as the Islamic revolution (1979) that has determined the course of my life and so many other Iranians’. Consequently this path naturally has pulled me toward a larger cultural investigation, which I happen to care deeply about. Therefore, to properly analyze my work, one must always consider both its personal and social context that always run in parallel. Of course in process I seem to frame and raise many questions, which naturally bring me to investigate, confront and at times deconstruct all kinds of stereotypes such as the notion of ‘orientalism’.

In regard to your other point, my interest in the subject of women is partially due to the fact that as a woman I feel closer and more sympathetic toward their situation living under oppressive societies. But also, because I believe in Islamic societies such as in Iran, by studying the predicament of the women, one could learn about the overall ideological structure of the political system that rules the country.”

Shirin Neshat