The images of Iran are as varied as the artists who created them.
In one, a woman’s bare calf rests in a bed of crushed cherries. In another, a cloaked Sufi mystic stands at a fork in the desert road. Yet another, a digitally manipulated photo, depicts three versions of a woman seemingly slicing her curly mane of hair with a sword, a revolver and a dagger.
The works are part of “Focus Iran 2: Contemporary Photography and Video,” a juried biennial organized by the nonprofit Farhang Foundation before the recent presidential executive order on travel. It is on view through May 7 at the Craft & Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles. The 33 landscape, portrait and documentary photographs and nine video works are from emerging and mid-career artists in Iran, the U.S., Germany, Britain and the Netherlands. Together they present a kaleidoscopic prism of Iranian culture and identity.
“We wanted to show different aspects of Iran than what’s typically covered in mainstream media, which is the government and politics and not so much the culture, the history and the arts,” Farhang Foundation Executive Director Alireza Rex Ardekani said. “Because the more people know about a particular culture, and understand it, the less fear they will have about it.
“The people inside Iran want the same things people here want. They want to be safe, have a happy life, live comfortably, they want freedom. We’re not all so different.”