Mania Akbari presents ‘The Body Politic’: Iranian Women Artist Filmmakers

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    I have Sinner a Rapturous Sin, 2018, copyright Maryam Tafakory.

Past Event

This event was on Sat 14 Sep, 3:30-6pm


Body Politics brings together thirteen contemporary Iranian artist-filmmakers whose work explore notions of womanhood, female gaze, body-memory and body technology, informed by geographical and geopolitical conditions.

Curated by Mania Akbari and AmirAli Ghasemi, this program hopes to provide a counter narrative to the tired image of the Iranian female artist as seen not only in the mainstream media but also in the art world. Featuring work by Mehraneh Atashi, Negar Behbahani, Bahar Behbahani, Nebras Hoveizavi, Mona Kakanj, Simin Keramati, Shahrzad Malekian, Bahar Noorizadeh, Anahita Razmi, Bahar Samadi, Niloofar Taatizadeh, Jinoos Taghizadeh and Maryam Tafakory, this program is defined not by the films’ location-specificity but a diversity of conceptual and experiential approaches in tackling the question of body as the site of politics.

A panel discussion with Mania Akbari, Minou Norouzi, Bahar Noorizadeh and Maryam Tafakory will follow the screenings.

Download the full programme here

Part of Not Just Me but You Too: Cinemas of Sisterhood, April 2019 – March 2020.

This year-long season of films, entirely by women and gender non-binary filmmakers, covers artists’ and experimental film, documentary and essay film, alongside filmmaker appearances, readings, discussion and guest speakers. Expect programmes dedicated to particular makers, themed programmes with contemporary artists and celebrations of key feminist thinkers, all in dialogue with Pages Cheshire Street, a new independent bookshop dedicated to women and non-binary writers.

About the Participants

Mania Akbari (b. Tehran, 1974) is an internationally acclaimed artist and filmmaker. Her provocative, revolutionary and radical films were recently the subject of retrospectives at the BFI, London (2013), the DFI, Denmark (2014), Oldenburg International Film Festival, Germany (2014), Cyprus Film Festival (2014) and Nottingham Contemporary UK (2018). Her films have screened at festivals around the world and have received numerous awards including German Independence Honorary Award, Oldenberg (2014), Best Film, Digital Section, Venice Film Festival (2004), Nantes Special Public Award Best Film (2007) and Best Director and Best film at Kerala Film Festival (2007), Best Film and Best Actress, Barcelona Film Festival (2007). She also had numerous exhibits around the world in galleries such as Tate Modern in London. Akbari was exiled from Iran and currently lives and works in London, a theme addressed in her latest Film, Life May Be (2014), co-directed with Mark Cousins.

Born in 1980, Mehraneh Atashi is an Iranian artist living and working in Amsterdam. Since her BFA education in photography in Tehran, and her post-graduate education at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, she has developed a body of work consisting of assemblages, sculpture, photography and video. Shifting between conceptualism and materiality, imagery and iconography, her work explore the possibility of becoming within static systems as well as concepts of gaze. Her work is awarded with the Mondrian Stipendium for Established Artists in 2014, and presented in solo and group exhibitions in, Reykjavic, Berlin, London, Salzburger, Graz, Losangels and Amsterdam.

Bahar Behbahani’s research-based practice, approaches landscape as a metaphor for politics and poetics. Born in Iran and based in New York City, her work has been featured in a solo exhibition, Let the Garden Eram Flourish, curated by Ugochukwu-Smooth Nzewi, at the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA. She has also exhibited in Thomas Erben Gallery in New York and the 11th Shanghai Biennale, China as well as in the 7th Moscow Biennale, Russia and Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens, Greece, and many others. Behbahani has also been awarded a fellowship at the MacDowell Colony, NH; and Open Sessions fellowship at the Drawing Center, NY. She is a 2019 Creative Capital awardee.

Born in 1983 in Tehran, multidisciplinary artist, Negar Behbahani lives in Brooklyn, New York. She received her B.A. in Music in Tehran and MPS from New York University, Tisch School of Arts. Behbahani has exhibited videos and installations in locations including #6 Berlinale Talent Campus, Berlin, Germany; Women’s Film and Media Arts Festival, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C.; Women’s Voices from the Muslim World, Los Angeles; DUMBO Arts Festival, New York; Here Arts Center, New York. Featured in Art in America, The Huffington Post, Jadaliyya, and Theater of One World. Behbahani also was part of the Global Groove, highlighting artists from the Far East, Middle East, Africa, and Europe at The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum.

AmirAli Ghasemi (b.1980, Iran) is a curator, media artist and a graphic designer based between Tehran & Berlin. He graduated in 2004 with a BA in graphic design from Central Tehran Azad University, with an emphasis on research in digital art history. In 1998, Ghasemi founded *Parkingallery*, an independent project space in Tehran and in 2002 he set up, an online platform for young Iranian artists. Ghasemi has shown his photographs, videos, design works in various festivals and exhibitions internationally. As a curator he has been directing many exhibitions, workshops, and talks for Parkingallery projects, such as *Deep Depression (2004-06), Sideways (2008). He is currently writing on the Tehran art scene and contemporary Iranian art for various magazines and on his own art-log. IRAN&CO is his ongoing curatorial project, an ongoing exhibition, and archive of Iranian art representation beyond its border. In summer 2014, Ghasemi co-funded New Media Society, a network-based research platform and library. He joined the Postgraduate M.A. Course “Art in Context” at the Berlin University of the Arts in 2015, and in 2017 left it unfinished to return to Iran and focus on his curatorial projects at New Media Society and Tamaas Foundation for Media Arts.

Born in Ahavaz, and lived in United States since her 20s, Nebras Hoveizavi graduated from California Institute of the Arts with a B.F.A. in Photo-Media in May 2014, and got her M.F.A. from the same University in May 2016. With her background in photography, she started working with moving image as her medium along performance and installation.Incorporating elements of photography, sculpture, architecture, and installation, her current work is more distances from a traditional photographer. Her art explores, issues of identity, culture, and dislocation among other things. Her works has been shown internationally and inside her home country, to name a few: Comfort Zone at Villa Kuriosum, Berlin, Limited Access Festival for video, sound and performance and the room parallel program at Fajr International film festival in Tehran. She currently divides her time between Middle East, and Southern California.

Mona Kakanj is an Iranian media artist based in Cologne. After receiving DAAD scholarship in 2007, she moved from Iran to Germany to continue her studies. She holds a MFA in painting from Alanus Academy, and a MA in media art from Academy Of Media Arts Cologne. In her works, Kakanj explores personal and public perception. By questioning and displacing conventional norms, she desires to evoke emotional reaction from viewers. Her projects largely consist of experimental movies, video installation as well as site specific public installations.

A multidisciplinary artist, Simin Keramati was born in Tehran, Iran and is currently living and working in Toronto, Canada. She holds a Master’s degree in fine arts from Art university of Tehran and was awarded the Grand Prize from Dhaka biennial 2003-4. Her work has been shown in more than 50 group and solo exhibitions internationally.

Shahrzad Malekian (1983/ Iran) is an interdisciplinary artist working with video, performance and sculpture. Shahrzad’ s works often embody contemporary human focusing on relations, power structure, and gender and transitions from private to public domain. Her work has been shown internationally in group exhibitions in Brazil, USA, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Finland and London. Her video piece was selected for International Film Festival Rotterdam and Göteborg International Film Festival in Jan 2013. She was finalist for MOP CAP 2015 prize. She lives and works in Oslo and Tehran.

Bahar Noorizadeh is an artist, writer and filmmaker. She works on the reformulation of hegemonic time narratives as they collapse in the face of speculation: philosophical, financial, legal, futural, etc. Her work has appeared in the Tate Modern Artists’ Cinema Program; Berlinale Forum Expanded; Biennale of Moving Images, Geneva; Toronto International Film Festival; Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art; Nanjing International Art Festival, Beirut Art Center, and Mercer Union, Toronto; among others. Noorizadeh is a founding member of BLOCC (Building Leverage over Creative Capitalism), a research and education platform that proposes pedagogy as strategy. Her current research examines the intersections of finance, Contemporary Art and emerging technology, building on the notion of “Weird Economies” to precipitate a crossdisciplinary approach to economic futurism and post-financialization imaginaries. She is pursuing this work as a PhD candidate in Art Practice+Theory at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Minou Norouzi is a filmmaker, film curator and writer based in London and Athens. Her research examines the objectification of the real in the context of interdisciplinary documentary practices. She is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Arts at the Helsinki Collegium of Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki. Her project, Revolutionary Patience: The Ethics of Non-interventionist Documentary Encounters looks at contemporary artists’ films by women from MENA countries, all implicated in recent and historical waves of migration. As an independent film curator, Minou initiated the Arts Council England funded Sheffield Fringe project in 2011 and has organized film-related events at Bloc Projects (Sheffield), Whitechapel Gallery (London), UnionDocs Center for Documentary Art (New York),  SALT Beyoğlu (Istanbul) and the Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art among other venues.

The works of Anahita Razmi, Berlin-based artist with Iranian background, revolve around cultural transfers and translocations. Working mainly with video, installation, new media and performance, Razmi’s work  examines processes of appropriation in which the meanings of existing images, artefacts and thus identities are altered by situating them in another temporal context. In doing so, she often reflects strategies of disarrangement and structures of perception expressed by the mass media against the background of different communities between the West and the Middle East. The Islamic Republic of Iran, with its current political and social conditions and relations, remains an open, ambivalent point of reference.

Bahar Samadi (b.1981, Tehran) is a Tehran – Paris based filmmaker and artist. She studied Architecture at the Art Faculty of Azad University – central Tehran, Iran and has graduated in Filmmaking from EICAR School in Paris, France in 2012. In her works, she primarily reaches for found footages and what she has in her archive, using structural techniques like cinematic omission and narrative form diversion to rewrite the pictorial memory. Her attempt to decode the probable life of images, embarks an imaginary journey between the author and the spectator. Since 2014, Navid Salajegheh and Bahar Samadi, have been working together and ran Studio 51.

Niloofar Taatizadeh is an Iranian born multidisciplinary artist who explores how the limitless processes of making and creating anew reflect the idea of multiple ‘becomings’ to reveal what lies beneath the surface of our constructed fixed ‘reality’. Her practice combines installation, sculpture, moving image and sound. Based in London, she has recently graduated in Contemporary Photography, Practices and Philosophies from Central Saint Martins School of Art and has participated in exhibitions at Tate exchange, Lethally Gallery, Sluice Biennial and Informal Architects in Switzerland.

Maryam Tafakory (b. Shiraz, Iran) is an artist-filmmaker based in London. Her work draws on the notion of ‘personal as political’ in a fractured narrative that involves a subtle negotiation between factual and fiction, exploring allegorical forms of visual narrative, using abstracted, symbolic and textual motifs and their on-screen representation. Part performance, her work draws on womanhood and rites of passage, interweaving poetry, (self)-censorship and religion, combining a formal minimalist syntax and figurative mode of representation. She completed an MFA at Oxford University and her work has been exhibited internationally including, Rotterdam IFFR; Edinburgh EIFF; Zurich Film Festival; Melbourne MIFF; ZINEBI; Hamburg IKFF; ICA London; BFI London; Kurzfilmtage Winterthur; Ji.hlava IDFF; Barbican Centre London; New York UnionDocs; and BBC Three. She has received several awards for her films including Best Short Film at Dokumenta-Madrid.

Jinoos Taghizadeh was born in Tehran in 1971. She received her diploma in graphic design, dramatic literature and ceramics 1992, and subsequently received her graduate degree in sculpture from the fine arts faculty of the university of Tehran in 2000 where she also worked in puppetry and illustration. Since 2001, she has served on the board of editors in various art magazines, as well as a critic and essay writer. She has also been delivering speeches and holding artist-talks in universities and museums around the globe. From 2000 onwards, she has had several solo exhibitions and performances in public spaces in Iran and European galleries. She has also participated in more than a hundred group exhibitions, biennales, museums, foundations and prestigious galleries around the world. Jinoos Taghizadeh lives in Tehran as an artist, storyteller and critic.