A generation, from reality to pictures

Women and the Middle East are controversial enough key words to make a piece of art interesting for westerns. This time, there is a new representation of this by an Iranian female artist, Melika Shafahi born in 1984, Tehran.  Grown up there and studied photography at the university of Tehran and now is living in France continuing her art career.

Against many other pictures shown to represent Iranian women or in a wider range Middle Eastern women, in Hijab, under veil and dark clothing, what can be seen in Melika’s photography is not that homogenized voiceless images and 8th of March, Women’s day, was a motivating reason to have an interview with Melika Shafahi, to reflect a part of her words and art works.

What I am trying to depict is whatever we, my generation and I is in reality in Iran, Melika says. It differs from those stereotyped pictures often are shown, she believes: Neither fundamentalist nor religious, a generation is who born after the Islamic revolution.

Studying visual arts in France brought her the chance to better communicate with non-Iranians who sometimes are in struggle with uncommon and non stereotyped pictures of Iranian youth, especially women. New images of them showing how different is the real picture of a generation of Iranians born in 1980s upwards, not just women but also men, with the same way of clothing and styles like the youth in Europe, Melika states.

“Snow White” is one of her collections which brought different interpretations of her art work. This fairy tale which is known from many countries in Europe but reminds me of my childhood in Iran, not just this but many other non-Iranian stories that we grown up with. Melika states: I am trying to show what we are in reality and surprisingly my works are still sometimes interoperated in a way they want to just because I am from Iran.

She had faced some limitations for public exhibiting her collections in Iran, though she had several private exhibitions, the last one on September 2011, Melika continues: I am eager on knowing different points of views from different groups of people.

She is not stuck in usual eastern elements to differentiate her photographs though when looking at her collections there is something different which reminds you of her origins whether it is a Persian cat in one picture or Persian calligraphic on the bodies of her models on the other one, she was successful to express her thoughts and in delivering her message, changing identity in the today’s world.

March 8, 2012 · Maryam Khazaeli · Comments Closed
Posted in: Art and Culture, Women