Manifestation of self-exoticism in artworks of contemporary Iranian photographers








My paper deals with manifestation of self-exoticism in artworks of Iranian contemporary photographers. Self exoticism, the recent trend, becomes the main character of most Iranian photographers. Exoticism –rooted in postcolonial theory and in this case in orientalism- frequently used to describe westernersÕ approach through orient.

Today Iranian possesses mixed and multifaceted identity like the other nations. Confliction of modern/traditional in socio-cultural issues; in addition, the Islamic identity which has been supported by political authority in contrast with the historical identity, resonate fragments in IranianÕs identity.

Accepting that there can be certain prevailing characteristics in artworks of the artists live in common geographical locus in a spantime, I will discuss the picture that Iranian photographers create most frequently use historical elements of Iranian culture. The discursive point is that each and every historical reference has specific origin of itÕs own in culture. But the majority of enumerated pictures set aside the originality, textuality of Iranian motifs. The westerns popular and prevalent clichˇs of Iran are inserted in these artworks. This happens as a matter of response to western art market being formed mostly in Middle East. These exotic products are produced to be consumed in another culture. Such art pieces have certain characteristic in common, like: using calligraphy, clothing (especially Chador for women), subjecting female (with emphasis on distinct aesthetic), referring to certain historical eras (Hakhamaneshian, Qajar, and Safavie), distinction between female and male, nostalgic approach through historical monuments.

well-known photographers –owing their reputation to the structure which is strengthen by their works- consciously reproduce the images which are accepted by west as true image of Iranian. These artworks are parole of stronger ideology which divide the world in two, and takes itÕs consistency from condemning dispersion.

Stereotyping the pre-established image of Iranian determines the westernersÕ taste for oriental images, also responding the exotic demand of western market. Through postcolonial discourse and cultural semiotic, with reliance on two case studies I will discuss the image represented by Iranian photographers is self-exoticized and self-oriented (somehow self-abjected). Besides, I will articulate how these photographers represent themselves in international setting, and expressions of post-colonial national identity through photography. Also I will outline three sort of exoticism in these artworks.



Samineh Tabatabaei: Studying master of art studies in Science and Culture university of Tehran.