Gender and Exposure in Contemporary Iranian Photography

Amirali Ghasemi, Coffee Shop Ladies No. 7, 2004/5

Abbas Kowsari, Masculinity A series No. 1, 2006

Sadegh Tirafkan, From the Zoorkhaneh series, 2003/4

Gender and Exposure in Contemporary Iranian Photography, Installation view at Gallery 44

Gender and Exposure in Contemporary Iranian Photography, In the vitrines at Gallery 44

Gender and Exposure in Contemporary Iranian Photography

Friday, May 4, 2012 to Saturday, June 16, 2012
Opening Reception:
May 4,
6:00PM to 9:00PM
About the Exhibition: 

Watch the panel discussion for Gender and Exposure at Gallery 44:

File Gender and Exposure panel discussion

Discourses about Middle Eastern art tend to be preoccupied by certain issues: femininity, the veil, gender disparity, religious tradition, and revolutionary conflict. This exhibition shifts the focus by considering the following themes: masculinity; female agency; secular activities (for example, café-culture, amateur wrestling, or extreme body building); Persian traditions; and the unique situation of Iran.

The artists communicate visual messages that are by necessity subtle and ambiguous. They use strategies such as metaphor and allegory, the blurring of boundaries between fiction and documentary, and the adoption of visual styles more typical of fashion, advertising, and graphic design. Understanding of Iranian art will differ depending on one’s knowledge of the country. However, works in this show also offer audiences an opportunity to abandon old assumptions and gain new insights about the culture.

Curator Andrea Fitzpatrick has conducted extensive research into Iranian culture and in 2010 traveled to Tehran to do field work. For this exhibition she has selected the works of Iranian artists Samira Eskandarfar, Amirali Ghasemi, Abbas Kowsari, Zeinab Salarvand, Arman Stepanian, and Sadegh Tirafkan, all of whom live and work in Tehran. Their images express the wit, elegance and sensitivity of the culture, and the individuality of the artists. Gallery 44 hopes that this exhibition will be a process of discovery for the viewer, and an exploration of artmaking as an increasingly important tool in international dialogues.

Amirali Ghasemi and Samira Eskandarfar will be coming to Toronto to present an artists' talk on Saturday May 5th and to connect with the Toronto art scene during the internationally celebrated Contact Photography Festival. We need your support to ensure we can cover our guests travel expenses.

Your donation of any amount towards this exhibition will help Gallery 44 expose Toronto audiences to thought-provoking art being created in Iran today. 

Please donate today through Canada Helps online: 
or contact us at Gallery 44

Contemporary Iranian Photography and Video in Toronto
Stephen Bulger Gallery, Camera, Gallery 44

Gender and Exposure in Contemporary Iranian Photography A Featured Exhibition in the CONTACT Photography Festival

Artist Biography: 

Samira Eskandarfar was born in Iran in 1980 and lives and works in Tehran. She studied ceramic engineering before going on to study filmmaking and finally took an MA in animation. Since 2003, she has made over ten videos from which two of her works were purchased by major public collections, including the Tate Modern in London and Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (NBK) in Berlin.

Amirali Ghasemi was born in Tehran in 1980. He lives and works in Tehran. Ghasemi is a graphic artist, media artist, and one of the city’s most active curators of emerging artists. He has travelled all over the world to present his own work and to speak about the young generation of Iranian artists. He is the organizer of the Parking Gallery in Tehran, which provides an independent space for community dialogue about contemporary art.

Abbas Kowsari was born in Tehran in 1970. He lives and works in Tehran. Kowsari has been a photojournalist and a photo editor at Iranian newspapers since the early 1990s. He has exhibited his work in prestigious group exhibitions in Paris, Vienna, London, Los Angeles, New York, and Torino. 

Zeinab Salarvand was born in Tehran in 1984. She lives and works in Tehran. Salarvand holds a BA in photography from the Art University of Tehran. In 2008, she won the top prize at the First International Photography Biennial of the Islamic World in Tehran. She has been included in group exhibitions at galleries in Tehran, as well as at the British Museum, London.

Arman Stepanian, born in 1956 in Abadan, Iran, lives and works in Tehran. This Armenian-Iranian artist holds a BA in graphic design from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Tehran University. He has been included in many important Iranian biennial exhibitions since 1990, as well as international group exhibitions of Iranian photographic art held in New York, Paris, London, and other cities. 

Sadegh Tirafkan was born in Iraq in 1965 to Iranian parents, and has lived in Tehran since 1970. Tirafkan graduated from the University of Tehran with a BA in 1990, and since that time has been working in photography, video, and sculpture with solo exhibitions internationally. His work is in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum of Art; the British Museum; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Maison européenne de la photographie, Paris; and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran.