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Where is friend's house?
Photo essay: Post-modernism, immigration and Iranian identity


Hadi Gharabaghi
October 19, 2005

Chaador is the traditional veil that Iranian women cover themselves to appear in society. Chaador covers all parts of body except for the face and hands. After Islamic revolution in Iran, black chador became the standard form of dress code. Some less strict dress forms gradually substituted black chaador. Today, especially young women in urban areas find various alternatives to show part of their hair and use more attractive colors while maintaining the dress code. Islamic authorities in Iran have loosened their grip on such issues in recent years.

Where is friend's house?
Statement & participants

A Self interview
My story is a complex one.  First of all, as a young male in Iran, in order to pursue art one is expected to have a solid financial background.  However, I immediately despise myself for saying that since I have seen students in art schools who came from villages and went on to become famous artists.

Anyway, I studied math and physics and was destined to become an engineer or a computer scientist but life determined otherwise. After completing high school, my interest in art, particularly in cinema and photography, steadily increased.  I think this was due to a combination of factors including my dropping out of university due to my religious affiliation, my feelings of hopelessness, wondering, and...

By pursuing art I betrayed the hopes of my underprivileged family and I don’t think that my father will ever forgive me for that.  My utopia broke down.  As a supposedly promising student with straight "A"s throughout my school years, it was expected that I would enjoy a prosperous life.  But gradually I discovered a strong desire within myself to do something that was against everything.  Art fitted this mold of rebellion. However, it took me a long time, as long as my journey from Iran to the US, to understand the implications of pursuing art.

I ended up leaving Iran and residing in Pakistan for three years before coming to the US.  After pursuing art for several years and dreaming about it for the longer period that I spent back in Iran and Pakistan, I envisioned a utopian path for myself - in the role of the director, the writer, and the photographer. Therefore, it became a decision of faith.  Art became my religion as I developed fanatic ideas about it. I had a strong prejudice on what I perceived as art.  I feel, however, that my academic credits have balanced my self-study in art.


For letters section
To: Hadi Gharabaghi

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