PERSEPOLIS: WHAT LAYS IN THE ABYSS IT HAS CREATED

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Artist Statement: "Theories on Diaspora can be both regional and global in definition. Diaspora artists affected by global migration propose for themselves hybrid identities simultaneously influencing the new environments they live in. The homeland is not a memory of a fixed place in time, but rather it is discourse that engages the past, present and future all at once.  The video critiques the displacement of millions of people due to the Islamic revolution and how that event has changed our perceptions of what we see contemporary Iranian society to be, a modern-day diaspora of the 20th century. The region is at a critical crossroads and given the complex nature of Iranian society it is unpredictable what may happen next.”
 
- Shahriar Asdollah-Zadeh
 
Exhibition Foreword: In 1925, a colonel from the Persian Cossack brigade, Reza Khan, seized power in Iran and was crowned king. He selected the name Pahlavi for his new dynasty, an attempt to associate his rule with the glamour of Iran’s pre-Islamic history” setting “in tone the monarchy’s use of the ancient past” where buildings “such as the central bank and post office were adorned with Achaemenid architectural motifs”. In 1971, in a further act of hubris, Reza Khan’s son Mohammed Reza Shah invited over 60 world leaders to Persepolis, the seat of Achaemenid power, for an anniversary festival to celebrate 2,500 years of Persian monarchy. The Shah addressed a speech to the empty tomb of the empire’s founder Cyrus II (559 – 530BC) praising him as the “first advocate of human rights”. In 1979, following the Iranian revolution less than ten years later, Ayatollah Khomeini had replaced Mohammed Reza Shah in what is now an Islamic republic.

- Text by Warren Pringle from the essay Ghosts of Duration (2011) for the exhibition by Shahriar Asdollah-Zadeh The revolution continued: What lays in the abyss it has created. MIC Toi Rerehiko Gallery 28 January - 19 February, 2011.