GOHAR DASHTI (Iranian, b. 1980)

Born in 1980 in Ahvaz, Iran, Gohar Dashti received her MA in Photography from the Fine Art University of Tehran in 2005. Dashti has developed a practice concerning social issues with particular references to history and culture in modern society. She creates artwork using different media, including photography and video. She has been exhibited internationally in Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Toronto, Paris, Berlin, Boston, and Milan.

In 2011, Dashti completed a residency with Visiting Arts’ 1mile2 program in Bradford, England. Kelly Carmichael of Visiting Arts writes:

“Gohar Dashti’s practice explores people – their private selves and public lives – in her native Iran. Unsurprisingly, growing up in the rich, complex and rigorous culture of Iran, not to mention its turbulent recent past, has had a major effect on Dashti’s practice and development as an artist. Her work is a mirror of the rigid regulations and complex social issues of post-revolution Iran and it is individuals and everyday events that characterize her work.

“Dashti has previously commented that ‘people’s lives have a special place in my photographs and research projects and I collect photographs that ordinary people have taken in various settings.’ Her photographs reveal the scars of her generation’s war torn childhood and confront issues of gender, secularism and religious tradition in contemporary Iran. In the 2008 series Today’s Life and War, Dashti questions how the violence of war symbolically impacts the life and collective memory of her generation. How, although these times have past, their caustic echo and impact is never far from young peoples’ consciousness. With muted colour, strong composition and conspicuous bunkers, tanks and barbed wire, the images are loaded and also anticipatory – like a single chapter or still from a film that make us want to know the entire work. There is a distinctly cinematic feel about them, a poetry of incongruity and loss. Staged with the elaborate attention to detail of a fashion or lifestyle magazine shoot, the images in this series combine mundane moments of a young couple’s life, such as a meal or watching television, with locations and props better suited to armed conflict.

“As the artist explains ‘growing up in war time… makes my generation live with the fear that one day we might again get into war. We are constantly living with war in Iran…everything reminds us of war, it is part of our everyday existence.’”

Selected Collections:

Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO

Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon, India