It was supposed to be a group exhibition in which seven contemporary women artists from Iran were to take part. The young artists, only some of whom live in Iran, initially agreed to participate in the Israeli exhibition, but as time went by, their fear of the Iranian authorities mounted and they started to cancel, one after the other.
The latest cancelation came in March 2014, leaving the curator, Sagi Rafael, with just one artist, Niyaz Azadikhah, 30, whose provocative work is in any event banned in Iran.
Even in her case, communication was not direct, but was mediated through the Dubai gallery that represents her.
Iranian art can be seen everywhere in the world, but rarely in Israel. According to curator Rafael, the present exhibition is intended to begin to make it accessible to Israelis and to spark thought and controversy.
» Haaretz – 28 March 2014:
Art attack: Iranian female artist dares to show her work in Tel Aviv
The work of Niyaz Azadikhah, banned in Iran, uses the chador to symbolize the struggle between coercive traditions and liberation. Article by Eitan Buganim
Iran: Self-censorship on the rise in Iran’s underground art scene
Many artists in Iran lead two careers: a public one, and a secret one. They exhibit pieces that they know wouldn’t make it past official scrutiny at underground galleries. However, even there, they are increasingly walking on eggshells.
In Iran, artists must apply for permits before being allowed to display their work publicly. Subjects that are political in nature or considered un-Islamic – for example women without veils, or nudes – have no chance of making it into an exhibit, and can get artists in trouble with the authorities.
» France 24 – 17 March 2014:
Self-censorship on the rise in Iran’s underground art scene