18 Mar 2011

"Shadi Ghadirian" Facebook Discussion

Just a few minutes ago, I saw the following fotos on my Facebook Feedback wall from a group called "Design-dautore.com...

 And I think You just had the same expression I had at first... WTF?!!:S

And, As I walked into the comments board I found the responds were as followed (Random Picking):

- "I would say....muslim would be pissed at these pictures. But what I can say? This is art. People would have different opinion on this kind of picture. I am muslim, but I will never say that this picture is about racist."

I decided I want to know who did it, and Found a Short Bio on the Artist:
Photographer/ Shadi Ghadirian
Shadi Ghadirian was born in 1974 in Tehran, Iran. She is a photographer who continues to live and work in Iran. Ghadirian studied photography at Azad University (in Tehran). After finishing her B. A., Ghadirian began her professional career as a photographer. She says that "quite by accident", the subjects of her first two series were "women". -Wikipedia

After I read Everything now in short brief and remembering a similar discussion I had with a Dear friend and Fellow artist only Way more informed than me( Farida), That was my Comment:

"Well, At first when I saw it I thought, that's racist, It's just a a pissed off gal from wherever, either angry from her own culture, or offending another religion. But... After I read all the comments of the respectful fellows in here, I remembered a work by Sarah Maple called "Islam is the new black", and remembered how my friend took it as an offensive thing, And I thought it was Highly controversial, but it could mean the opposite" as in referring to Islamophobia as the new KKK like ideology or sth!"

So It is a good work, Highly controversial and Offensive, but I think she used what I learnt in the art world to be "The Shock Effect", Like the Damien Hirst works when they were first displayed! And works like that In my opinion are Judged... by the history of the Artist and their opinions in similar cases! But If I did just like I did in the Sarah Maple piece, and Assumed the better intention for the Artist, I'll think It's socio-cultural criticism, Just taken too 'In-your-face' style, Other thatn that, But, I know Islamic teachings and I know Muslim countries, and some people or even countries take the teachings sooo strictly, reaching the extreme side( which Is NOT what Islam is!), But She isn't Discussing Islam here, She's discussing the extreme deployment of Islam and Taking some of the teachings and leaving the others to restrict a certain Gender's rights, and THAT happens in Every Religion!!"

Now If you're intrigued and feeling curious to discover more of Ghadirian' works on Design-dautore
And may be tell me what did you think at first, and then! 

-Peace y'all


  1. FARIDA'S REPLY Off my E-mail:
    "Hey Radz
    after reading your blogpost, i remembered this booklet and thought you might like to read it

    i like when you say : "And works like that In my opinion are Judged... by the history of the Artist and their opinions in similar cases!:"
    but what is your position exactly vis-a-vis this work? did you judge based on her life or as it is?
    do you find it shocking like Hirst or Maple?
    do you find it insulting to Islam or to women?

    i honestly think, and God knows best, because of Iran's position to impose on women to wear the veil, this photo distorts the position of Islam on women. somebody who knows little about our religion, on seeing that photo, will assume that this is Islam and not a government obliging women to wear the veil whether they like it or not (which is against Islam, "there is no compulsion in religion" in surat al Baqara)
    and no i'm not more informed than you at all, Radz, you know things i wouldn't even hear of :)"

  2. My Reply:
    Well, I'll answer the questions 1 by one:
    1- I read the short bio written by her in the web and in the wiki. and this is how I knew, well firs of all that she's a Gal, not a Dude:) and that she kinda have a history with doing these controversial stuff, but not to the limit of being in trouble with the Nijad government, or any Extreme action.
    When I judged it as it is, which is my first opinion, It was the "WTH!" statement!

    2- Yes, I do find it shocking, though the Hirst's are Shocking in a grotesque way, or in a chainsaw-sliced-animal-way! In Maple It's a Shocking in a Provocative way!
    and though I share the opinion that 'Provocation' in not 'Art', I know that there are some artists (Not a few) who tend to express their opinions in a strong way, or in a counter opinion way( i dunno how they call it exactly)! I'm not saying it's the best way to display it, I personally dislike it, but it is a way that has its fans! (Like Director/ Khalid Yousef's movies)

    3- If we are talking about the public first impression judgment (Yes, actually HELL YEAH! It's provocative and racist, and I'll mentally punch dat lady's teeth off her), But that wouldn't be considered a rightful judgment because it's not based on full knowledge of the artist's philosophy.

    My choice would be: Find another less provocative or more informative way to display her case! So she won't give those who knows nothing about Islam the chance to think that these works affirm the crap the media says about Islam.
    But Art world wise, the Beauty debate is one of the main points of huge discussions since Dadaisme!

  3. Your art is you and your perceptions. I was intrigued, thanks!

  4. Hey Radwa,

    Sorry for the delay - I have been trying to think more about your question!

    I am familiar with Ghadirian's work from the past few years of exhibitions of "contemporary Islamic art." I like her "Qajar" series - where she riffs on 19th-century paintings and photos of Qajari women. Humor is a central aspect of her work, and I would describe the "Like EveryDay" as hyperbole - obvious and intentional exaggeration. She says to the viewer - "this is what you think of muslim women, right? well, you (the viewer) are ridiculous!" I think she is criticizing Western perceptions of muslim women, rather than producing her own viewpoint through these representations.

    Yet, I think that by making images like these, even though they intend to criticize, she inadvertently continues prejudices against the veil and reinforces stereotypes. Instead of moving the discussion somewhere else, she focuses on the one issue that has captivated the Western imagination of the Muslim world for centuries - the veil! Personally, I would like the conversation to move to a different topic, as this continued focus doesn't progress us forward.

    But, in the end, artists sometimes need to make money, and these are the images that sell on the international market.

    That's my two cents. Thanks for asking!