La Lettre de la Photographie, Festival Archive,13.11.2011The Silk Road, Iran’s first gallery exclusively devoted to photography, opened in December 2001. Akin to its namesake, the ancient roadway through which both goods and cultures were exchanged, the Silk Road Gallery’s mission is to present to the world the photography of a new generation of Iranian artists.
A medium that communicates its message directly, photography is an art form that is accessible to everyone, at once. Moreover, in a country with such an iconic cultural history, it is truly exciting to find an art form with virtually no traditional pulls or traps on its performers. In fact, one could argue that photography is the most contemporary art form in Iran.
It is our belief that Iranian photographers have now found their own distinct style of communication, and they do transmit their vision with commitment and subtlety. One will notice that Iranian photographers always find an engaging and passionate frame of reference to tell the story of their society and political environment. Photography can and will accompany Iranian public and artists all the way to modernity.
These are the reasons that we, at Silk Road Gallery, chose to specialize in Iranian contemporary photography. Forerunner in our field, the gallery has actively helped in the development of this new artistic movement. Since its opening, many celebrated Iranian photographers, such as Bahman Jalali and Shadi Ghadirian, have started a collaboration with the Gallery that continues to this day (Bahman Jalali, passed in January 2010, is still represented by the Silk Road Gallery). Meanwhile, a younger generation of photographers work actively with us. Far from being just a commercial institution, the gallery acts as a sort of laboratory in which new ideas and experiences are exchanged, discussed and congealed.
Through the Silk Road Gallery, the works of Iranian photographers are regularly presented to museums and other institutions everywhere. As recently as in 2010 Arash Fayez’s work was sold to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and in 2007 Shokoufeh Alidousti’s photographs to the Musée Quai Branly.
The Silk Road Gallery also participates in the best international art fairs such as “Paris Photo” (2010, 2009, 2004 and 2011) “Arco” (2009 and 2007) and “Art Dubai” (2009 and 2008). It takes part in major cultural events, such as Photoquai in 2007 and 2009. The artistic direction of Photoquai 2009 was entrusted to Anahita Ghabaian Etehadieh, director of the Silk Road Gallery.
The tenth anniversary of the gallery will be marked by the publication of a book on contemporary Iranian photography.
What is your point of view on the financial side of the photographic market today?
Photography is a contemporary medium that has found its place in the international art. The success of events such as Paris Photo is a proof.
However, photography in Iran has not found its place and there is no private or public collector of photography. But, lots of photographers work in Iran and their work is exceptional.
Anahita Ghabaian Etehadieh, Director Silk Road Gallery
Artists: Jalali Bahman, Gohar Dashti, Arash Fayez, Shadi Ghadirian, Rana Javadi, Mehrdad Naraghi
Via La Lettre de la Photographie