Speaking from the heart

The Polemic Sensibility

from Iran

An exhibition curated by Shaheen Merali

The exhibition is a result of a curatorial decision to raise awareness of the development in Iranian aesthetics as part of the political and cultural reality of this country.  It is sourced from the inevitably finite series of creative works that came from Iran in a period when artists felt they needed to further question their experiences of reality at the time of the tenth presidential election, which was held on 12th June 2009.  Millions of Iranians gathered in Iranian cities and around the world in post-election protests and further inspired the emergence of the opposition Iranian Green Movement.

The actual, as well as the mental journeys towards being excluded  – often feeling confined – produced new identities based on introspection, often producing an auto-critique of the lack of progress in their lives. The volatile condition within and without, the confusion, the bewilderment and the total failure of the system gave way to doubts and led to a collective sense of disillusionment with the whole.

This cultural awakening, constructed in images and text, thread and paint, video and graphics reflects the increasing place of protest and activism, but, more significantly, the works are engaged with how these visual encounters further the scope of Iran’s contemporary language – deliberate, considered and, at points, provocative in its poetic demand.   Curiosity re-establishes the demand to connect with the harsh reality of everyday life within a critical artistic discourse.

This exhibition speaks from the heart of Iranian sensibility.



Mehraneh Atashi, Navid Azimi Sajadi, Mahmood Bakhshi, Masoumeh Bakhtiary, Majid Fathizadeh, Parastou Forouhar, Farhad Fozouni, Ghazaleh Hedayat, Taha Heydary, Melodi Hosainzadeh, Katayoun Karami, Aria Kasaei, Majid Korang Beheshti, Amir Mobed, Mehran Mohajer, Masoumeh Mozafari, Homan Nobakht, Sara Roohisefat, Atefeh Samaei, Rozita Sharafjahan, Mohamad M. Tabatabaei.


Collaborating partners include

Azad Gallery,Tehran / Freies Museum, Berlin /Framer Framed and Castrum Peregrini, Amsterdam.


The exhibition was made possible with the support of

Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst and Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.


SFH FInal 00