With all the recent furore over the Iranian elections, I was pleased to discover an alternative, more positive aspect on the country through the artist Sara Shamsavari, who moved to the UK after spending her first two years in revolutionary Iran. Shamsavari’s images capture a hopefulness uncharacteristic of so much coverage today, and they reflect the artist’s mixed cultural heritage and increased awareness of art’s responsibilities as leaders in spiritual and social progress.
Shamsavari’s work reminds me of Martin Parr, and she has the rare gift of capturing how the light strikes a face to illuminate it in hope. Standing in stark contrast to the almost nihilistic, magic realism of Roger Ballen, or the readily packaged nostalgia of MoMA’s recent Into the Sunset Exhibition, Shamsavari looks forward rather than back and presents us with an alternative view of reality. It seems apt that Shamsavari was recently selected as one of the exhibiting artists at the ICA’s Love in the Sky. The exhibition asks us to imagine – what would we do if our aim was a world based on love, and serves to reach for the kind of positivity which seems to be evading many of our contemporaries.
For more information, visit Shamsavari‘s flicker page.
Images (c) Shamsavari