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Samira Eskandarfar, Amirali Ghasemi, Abbas Kowsari,

Zeinab Salarvand, Arman Stepanian, Sadegh Tirafkan
Curated by Andrea Fitzpatrick

May 4 to June 16, 2012

Opening reception: Friday May 4, 6 to 9 pm

Talk: Sat May 5, 3 pm

artists Amirali Ghasemi and Samira Eskandarfar in conversation with curator Andrea Fitzpatrick

This exhibition, guest-curated by Andrea Fitzpatrick of the University of Ottawa, is based on her research into Iranian culture as well as field-work done in Tehran in 2010. Discourses of 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 your 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.


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.

Andrea D. Fitzpatrick completed a PhD in contemporary art from McGill University in 2005. Since 2007, she has taught the history and theory of art at the University of Ottawa. The exhibition guest-curated for Gallery 44 is based on a month-long research trip she completed in Tehran in the summer of 2010, as well as years of prior research on Iranian culture. Her most recent essay, "Of Gesture, Erasure, and Exposure: Images of Text in Iranian Photographic Art," was published in the Tehran-based journal Art Tomorrow (Vol. 5) and was translated into Persian.


First Image: Amirali Ghasemi , from the series Coffee Shop Ladies, digitally altered colour photograph, 50 x 70 cm, 2004-2005
Second image: Sadegh Tirafkan, from the Zoorkhaneh series, 70 x 100 cm, 2003-2004



For more information please contact:
Alice Dixon, Exhibition Coordinator
Gallery 44
(416) 979-3941

Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography
401 Richmond Street West, Suite 120
Toronto, Ontario M5V 3A8

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Gallery 44 is open Tuesday to Saturday 11 am to 5 pm

Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography is a non-profit artist-run centre committed to photography as a multi-faceted and ever-changing artform. Founded in 1979 to establish a supportive environment for the development of photography, Gallery 44's mandate is to provide a context for reflection and dialogue on contemporary photography and its related practices. Gallery 44 offers exhibition and publication opportunities to national and international artists, award-winning education programs, and affordable production facilities for artists. Through its programs, Gallery 44 is engaged in changing conceptions of the photographic image and its modes of production.