Maryam Mohammadi – In My Eyes

16/2 – 1/4 2017
gallery 2

Maryam Mohammadi (born in Tehran/Iran) is documentary and staged photographer. She taught at the Tehran University of Arts for many years, and has exhibited widely in Iran and in Europe. She has lived in Graz since 2009, where she received the city Art Funds Prize. Her work focuses on how social, cultural and religious conditions at both local and global levels affect women. Also, how these effects are inscribed into their biographies and identities. Occasionally she is also an illustrative object to reflect her process of socialization in different societal systems. For the last few years she has worked in intercultural youth centers, feminist adult education, women and migrants counseling. Since 2015 she has been part of the Graz Women’s Council.

“This is – not – my ID!”
The Project “This is – not – my ID!” deals with a consternation about Identity through the after-effect of the Immigration. The evolution of this project became an intimate exploration of my own relationship to a new position that I felt connected to. This project questioning about the exploring, representing and identifying the new position and situation that depend on the location where belong to a new cultural surrounding.
“This is – not – my ID!” tries to imitate the extensive social roles to find a way to obey the social cultural aspects to find a way to be like the others! Tries to integrate with dominant visual “cultural” images! Tries to be others to integrate to new social connections. unfruitful attempt to be accepted in new surrounding!

“Talisman” / talɪzmən
A talisman is an object which is believed to contain certain magical properties which would provide good luck for the possessor or offer protection from a possible evil or harm. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Middle eastern talismans are pocket-sized, about 5cm wide, usually rectangular in shape, and made of metal. They are engraved to show stylized images usually of men, women and animals surrounded by written charms. They are obtained, for example, from a fortune teller in response to a particular request. So if a woman wishes for her husband to love her more, the fortune teller will give her a corresponding talisman and tell her to place it under his pillow or in his pocket. 
Often in the societies where religion and sovereignty has the power to dictate different social and private roles, we find a countertendency towards different ideologies and local, cultural and religious superstitions.
The talisman is a symbolic reflection of the role of women in society. Their focus lies with topics that are of interest to women. The women depicted on the talismans wish to be dominant femmes fatales, and yet at the same time are dependent on the male figure, adopting a passive role towards the male gender. They gaze magically from the engraved picture with inscrutable expressions. 
In this series, the symbols and figures found on various actual talismans have been staged and interpreted as photographs within the context of a staged-photography project.

press release 
→ photos from opening of exhibition