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Blasts from the past
Photo essay: Unearthing half a century of underground revolutionary material
Updated June 12, 2006
This feature was originally published June 5th.
Here are about 140 more pictures of this fascinating collection
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I was invited by artist Taraneh Hemami to take pictures of preparations to display hundreds, if not thousands, of books, pamphlets, posters and newspapers mostly of the revolutionary left from the 1960s and 1970s. The material was part of a library in Berkeley run by the Confederation of Iranian Students, whose members included radical leftists, Islamists and nationalists united against the reign of the Shah. Every 15 seconds one of the volunteers handling the dusty material would shout out a title in awe, shock, disbelief or disgust -- depending on your age or political beliefs.
This mind-boggling collection was put on public view as part of "HERE WE ARE: An archive-in-progress", a larger show at the Center for Art and Public Life (Oliver Art Center) in Oakland, recording the lives of Iranian-Americans in the San Francisco Bay Area (June 8 - 11, 2006). The public are encouraged to bring their own personal archives for display and documentation.
This was a collective art project by visiting artist Taraneh Hemami with visiting scholar Persis Karim and Ali Dadgar, Mahru Elahi, Mohsen Emami-Nouri, Haleh Hatami, Afshean Hessam, Navid Ghaem Maghami, Ardalan Paydar, Bijan Yashar, Termeh Yeghiazarian, Shadi Yousefian, Ala Ebtekar and Taravat Talepasand.