Bibliography and Art history
After completing my studies at the Faculty of Art, I had the opportunity to work with cinematography teams, which allowed me to gain new skills and experiences. During this time, I focused on photographing extras in historical film projects for over a year. Being involved in their way of life had a profound impact on my perspective and inspired me to create my first experimental short film, “Instance” in 2010, centered on the themes of time and truth.
Later, I moved from Tehran to Hormoz Island, situated 1800 km away in the Persian Gulf. While exploring the island, I discovered a 50-year-old red clay mine and factory that produced red powder for the paint and cosmetics industry. Most of the products were exported to Italy and France. I named my project “Red Dream” and “Real Imagination” and used stage photography for the first time, casting the workers as actors in abstract images. The goal was to convey the abstract feelings of the workers through visual storytelling, with the themes of hope, love, and patience at the forefront.
Afterwards, I was introduced to a community of impoverished locals on Hormuz Island who dried inedible surplus fish in the desert heat. For approximately six months, I labored with them in their difficult working conditions, amidst the hot and unsanitary environment filled with flies. Through this experience, I learned that in order to achieve true artistic originality, I needed to embody the life of a fish-dryer before aspiring to be a photographic artist. Therefore, for many days, I sifted through the remains of the beautiful fish, seeking beauty amidst the stench of decaying corpses. My workshop became a haven for the dead and dried fish, but arranging these works became meditative for me, allowing me to blend reality with fantasy by incorporating human figures among the fish.
A year had passed when I witnessed the devastating mass death of the antelopes on the island, an event that deeply affected me. The unsustainable growth of tourism had resulted in the death of these beautiful creatures, leading to drastic changes in the island’s landscape. The influx of cars and motorcycles, along with an increase in visitors, had left the island covered in litter, yet nobody seemed to care, including the government officials.
I stumbled upon the remains of around thirty antelopes and, out of respect for their lives, I would hide them away to decompose. I brought their bodies to my studio and carefully removed the flesh and wool from their bones, ultimately resulting in the creation of eight complete deer skeletons from the mutilated remains of thirty.
As I looked at my herd of deer, I was reminded that, in the Muslim Shia religion, deer is a symbol of one of the imams. Despite this, the significance of these creatures’ death had gone unnoticed. I realized that my project was not only related to the environment but also connected to religious beliefs. To me, the death of a deer symbolized the loss of innocence.
None of the characters in these pictures say that all their eyes are staring at the sky, or that they are really blind, or that they have closed their eyes to reality. I shrouded my characters, a real shroud with religious prayers. In that year, I thought that death had invaded our land. It was not unreasonable, so I named that project “Public Mourning”. A project that I spent two years on. Arrangement photography environmental art and finally making four symbolic sculptures in the form of metal mummies of the island’s deer.
In the end, I also made a documentary film about the process of this project called Broken Bones. A film about a man who is broken and unlike all the people of the island has come to the fact that the death of antelopes is actually the death of the island and its people.
After that I worked on a few other photography projects until I decided to build a house for myself on the island. A difficult challenge that finally came to fruition after two years. A house that was designed and executed by myself and has now become a cultural location on the island. Now it accepts different artists. A house called Dahir… Dahir is an ancient mythical fish in Iran whose name is still used to refer to a particular fish found in the Persian Gulf. This fish has a fondness for light, and as a result, fishermen venture out at night to catch it. They use a projector to shine light on the surface of the sea, which tricks Dahir into rising to the surface where it becomes ensnared in their nets.