Gender and Exposure in Contemporary Iranian Photography


This exhibition, guest-curated by Andrea Fitzpatrick of the University of Ottawa, is based on her research into Iranian culture as well as field-work done in Tehran in 2010. In an attempt to expand the issues that have preoccupied discourses in Middle Eastern art (namely: femininity, the veil, gender oppression, religious traditions and/or revolutionary violence), this exhibition addresses the exposure of gendered bodies in Iranian lens-based art. The exhibiting artists (emerging and senior, who all live and work in Iran), shift our attention to: masculinity as well as femininity; female agency and deft political critique; secular activities (for example, café culture, amateur wrestling or body building); Persian traditions; and the unique situation of Iran. 

To convey meaning and to negotiate the censorship of all cultural production in Iran, the artists use metaphor and allegory in video and photography, the blurring of boundaries between fiction and documentary, and the visual styles familiar to fashion, advertising and graphic design. Different understandings of the artworks, from perspectives inside and outside of Iran, make the viewing of Iranian art equally challenging and rewarding. New insights and old assumptions are revealed about Iranian culture(s) as well as about Canadian and North American culture

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© All photos are copyrighted by Najaf Shokri.