Short Reviews

on Iranian

Contemporary Art

Artists’ Views

Newsha Tavakolian

I head out to take pictures of the Corona crisis in Tehran. I put on gloves and place a mask over my face. The fear is everywhere. Fear of death, the future and a terrible year ahead. My past year has already been terrible. Like now with Corona, life forced me to stop and drop everything. I was having dinner in Amsterdam, when my husband called me from Iran saying my sweet 64-year old father had just died of a heart attack. Some days after the funeral, Iranian press authorities revoked my work permit for no reason. Two months later our housekeeper was killed after she was hit by a car in front of our building. My brother was diagnosed with lymphoid cancer and had to take chemotherapy. I withdrew in our apartment. Nowadays we would call it ‘self-quarantine’, but for me it was plain old depression. My camera’s stood gathering dust. For the first time since I was 16 I didn’t take pictures. I didn’t want to talk, I tried not to think. The pain forced me to face my problems. I was a workaholic always feeling guilty when I needed time for myself. My emergency stop broke my endless cycle of assignments and trips. The time it gave me, made me see life’s beautiful small details. From blossoming trees to the sparkle in my husband’s eyes: slowing down reignites your senses. My hard pause has made me feel freer and happier than ever. That is why I walk the streets of Tehran with some mixed feelings. I’m afraid of what the future will bring, of loved ones dying, or even myself being in danger. But I take some comfort that this is a collective and global halt to everything. We are facing this ordeal all together, no one is alone in their house, because we all are..

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