|The design of Sadaf Foroughi's Shahre Farang, a traditional Iranian peep box. Picture courtesy of Sadaf Foroughi and CBC Radio.|
Iranian artist and Canadian permanent resident, Sadaf Foroughi, has spent the last two years trying to build an authentic shahre farang, essentially a traditional Iranian peep box. It's part of a project funded by the Canada Council for the Arts. After Ms Foroughi went to Iran to help build the box, that's when things got complicated.
On her arrival back in Montreal, Canadian customs held the artwork. Officers claimed it contravenes Canada's trade sanctions with Iran. And now the piece is slated to be destroyed in a matter of days.
Shahre farangs are traditionally made of thin tin, are delicate objects and date back centuries. According to Ms Foroughi the peep box was used to show pictures to children in Iran and give people a glimpse around the world -- places average Iranians would likely never visit. Ms Foroughi's installation is a modern interpretation of the shahre farang where she shows videos instead of photographs.
Ms Foroughi tells guest host Helen Mann, she doesn't understand why her work violates Canada's so-called "Special Economic Measures Regulations for Iran," because she says her piece has no commercial value.
Ms Fourghi tells Helen she told the customs agent in Montreal, "I'm an artist and I had the grant of Canada Council for the Arts and they only support independent and personal projects." But according to Ms Foroughi, the official shouted at her.