Shadi Ghadirian, Untitled (Qajar Series)

Ahmanson Building, Level 4
June 16, 2011–May 10, 2012

The photographs presented in this installation are from a series of thirty-three portraits by Shadi Ghadirian, a contemporary artist who was inspired by the studio portraiture first introduced to Iran in the late nineteenth century under the Qajar dynasty (1794–1925).

In order to re-create the earlier setting, Ghadirian employs painted backdrops and dresses her models in vintage clothes to emulate the fashion of the day: headscarves and short skirts worn over baggy trousers, as well as thick, black eyebrows. She adds modern elements to these traditional scenes, such as a Pepsi can, a boom box, a bicycle and an avant-garde Tehran newspaper. 

Ghadirian has said of her work, “My pictures became a mirror reflecting how I felt: we are stuck between tradition and modernity.”











Image: Shadi Ghadirian (Iran, born 1974), Untitled (Qajar Series), 1998, Photograph, Gelatin-silver bromide print, Purchased with funds provided by the Art of the Middle East Acquisition Fund, Art of the Middle East Deaccession Fund, the Ralph M. Parsons Fund, the Joan Palevsky Bequest by exchange, and Catherine Benkaim, with additional funds provided by Angella and David Nazarian, M.2008.35.1, © Shadi Ghadirian.