Shirana Shahbazi


4 February - 26 March 2006

This exhibition by the Iranian artist Shirana Shahbazi consisted of recent and new work including a series of tapestries, photographs and poster installation. Shahbazi uses photography to explore the classic genres of art history; portraiture, still life, landscape and history painting, both from an ‘Oriental’ and Western perspective. In so doing, she calls into question the exotic clichés that so often arise when engaging work from a Middle Eastern context.

The exhibition featured her best known series – Goftare Nik/Good Words (2000-2001). It takes its title from the Zoroastrian maxim ‘good thoughts, good words, good deeds’. This series was photographed in and around Tehran and is a compendium of social role models and social phenomena. It is a reflection on Iran, on myth-laden Persia and its portrayal and self-portrayal.

Shahbazi’s images exist in varying formats and media, from the small to the monumental, and her subject matter ranges from the incidental to the epic. Shahbazi’s work engages traditional Iranian craft and artistic practices. This exhibition included some large format paintings made by Iranian painters employed in the advertising industry, and traditional hand woven carpets featuring exquisitely crafted images deriving from Shahbazi’s original photographs. The format of Shahbazi’s works reconciles the traditional with the contemporary but also questions the very cultural hierarchies on which we so often base our assumptions.

Press Release