Turning pages of the photo album with photos of my sister’s infant-hood; I know there is another photo hidden underneath one of them: A photo of my uncle holding my sister in his arms. I have always been told this photo has been hidden as my father gets sorrowful about what that would remind him of, maybe due to unfulfilled grief, not getting to have the last visit, a hug, or even a funeral.
“In the summer of 1988, the Iranian regime summarily and extra-judicially executed thousands of political prisoners held in jails across Iran. The massacre was carried out on the basis of a fatwa by the regime’s then-Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini.”
As said, thousands of political prisoners have been executed in the summer of 1988 in Iran and my 23-year-old uncle was among them.
In this project, I’m exploring the unfulfilled grief and memories focusing on family’s personal experiences with these mass executions. The project explores the repercussions the 1988 massacres had and continue to have on the thousands of people and families affected. Even though my work focuses on 1988 massacre in Iran, my perspective is pointing at broader concept of injustice all around the world.
Many of these political dissidents were young men, women, and teenagers who were serving their sentences in prisons for their political views and non-violent actions. A few weeks or months before the executions the regime suspended all the family visits and turned away whoever came to visits their relatives in prisons .
Talking about the personal connection I’m using the printed version of my uncle’s photo in our family album as a material for the art, the photo that has been taken just a few years before he was executed. In this in-progress project I aim to create paper and textile woven pieces using my uncle’s printed photo. By representing an everyday object (rugs and tapestries) notwithstanding its artistic and historical background, I intend to point out the everyday aspect of it as a metaphor for deserving to have a normal life, a normal life that took away from lots of us. I have turned the photo into very small pattern lines, working as a weft of rugs, the warp of the rugs would be yarn and strings. In this way the piece consists of thousands of my uncle’s photo as thousands of others who have been executed just like him.
1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran.NCRI.https://www.ncr-iran.org/en/1988-massacre-of-political-prisoners-in-iran
"Blood-soaked secrets with Iran's 1998 Prison Massacres are ongoing crimes against humanity" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 December 2018. Retrieved 2 August 2022. From https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde13/9421/2018/en/