If you don’t already know him, I would like to introduce the extraordinary photographer, artist, and documentary filmmaker Serge Hamad to you. He is an acclaimed New York-based photographer and artist whose dedication to human rights for Iranians makes him an extremely significant and important asset to Iranian community worldwide. Born in 1961, Serge is a Frenchman who is married to an Iranian woman.
Serge Hamad started his career at a young age as a combat photographer. He learned to capture the human distinctiveness like hatred and fear, but also compassion almost instinctively, but always in an impartial and respectful way. For the past 2 years, Serge's goal has been to endorse Human Rights organizations through creative photography. Some of Serge's recent work was submitted by the world renowned artist, Shirin Neshat, to be part of an art piece auctioned at Christie's London, where proceeds were used to promote Women's Rights.
On Saturday, July 30, from 6:00 until 9:00 p.m., there will be an opening reception for Serge Hamad’s art exhibition at Seyhoun Gallery in Los Angeles. The proceeds from this event will benefit the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
Saturday, July 30 through August 4, 2011; 6:00-9:00p.m.; Seyhoun Gallery; 9007 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, CA. (Facebook page).
He will then exhibit his works in San Francisco, California beginning on August 11. This exhibition will benefit the Berkeley-based Omid Advocates for Human Rights who concentrate on helping Iranian refugees.
Following is a short interview with Serge Hamad about his art, his motivations, and his hopes. If you live in Los Angeles or San Francisco, please take some time to go see this passionate man’s works and meet him in person.
Serge Hamad’s website: sergehamad.com
How did you start your career?
I started at a young age as a combat photographer. Later on, in the 1980’s, I learned film and video as sound was also important to me to tell my stories. I worked the last 22 + years for almost all major European TV channels, producing documentaries about art, social, and political themes and war zones coverage.
What is your motivation for doing this project?
I simply love Iran. I truly believe that anyone who came close to this country and its people for one reason or another, would feel the same. I had this privilege 18 years ago, when I married an Iranian.
So it hurts to hear of the arbitrary arrests, physical and psychological torture, and denial of fundamental human rights that are happening every day in Iran.
When did you start the project?
I started the “Take a Stand” project a year ago to protest against this travesty by creating visual artwork and installations to endorse different Human Rights organizations like the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran and Omid Advocates.
The decision happened spontaneously. A year ago, my wife (editor at a major European TV channel) came home from work, very saddened. She had been editing a documentary concerning an Iranian citizen who was condemned to death by stoning on that day.
“I wish I could do something against it” she said. My answer was: “let’s take a stand.” Since then, we have been working hard to make this event a success with the help of other artists and human rights activists like Shirin Ebadi, Isabella Rossellini, Robert Wilson, and others.
What media do you use?
I use photography, as well as graphics to describe diverse aspects of the dilemma happening in Iran. (Stoning, denial of fundamental rights, corruption, persecution of the Green Movement activists…)
Here are a few examples:
What is the message of your art?
Hope (OMID) is my message. I do not have a political agenda and I am not doing western propaganda. I want to reach people through art in order to inform them of a dilemma, and it’s up to them, then, to take a stand by helping the organizations, so the detained innocent people in Iran and the Iranian refugees who are struggling all over the world don’t sink into oblivion.
Don’t miss Serge Hamad’s exhibitions in Los Angeles and in San Francisco. They are for extremely worthy causes.
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