A glimpse of Iran

ByProma Chakraborty

Jul 19, 2019

From intimate portraits to serene landscapes, this exhibition offers a rare glimpse into the everyday life of Iran

“Iran is not just oil and gas; Iran is not just the diplomatic tussles. Iran is a feast for eyes,” says Aziz Mahdi.

Mahdi an ex-faculty at the University of Tehran, has spent more than a decade studying and teaching Persian in Iran from 2005-2016.

During his stay, he didn’t live amongst the Iranians as a foreigner, but as one of them. He travelled vastly across the country and lived amongst the indigenous people in the busiest as well as remotest places of Iran, capturing the Iranian essence of life in photographs all along.

Rowzaneh Exhibition- Aziz Mahdi

These photographs are on display at an exhibition — ‘Rowzaneh: Iran Through my Lens’. Quite aptly titled, the exhibition presents a rare glimpse into the everyday life of the country.

As an Indian academic who has travelled widely in Iran, he brings a fresh perspective to the society, culture and architecture of the region, revealing the novel in the mundane.

“Ask an Indian about Iran; he may or may not be able to summarise it in a brief sentence. Ask an Iranian about India; 90% of them will say: land of diversity and Amitabh Bachchan,” says Mahdi.

Presenting an eclectic body of work, the uniqueness of Mahdi’s photos lies in the fact that he has captured that aspects of Iranian art, culture, people, society, architecture, and landscapes in his photographs which we are not familiar with.

“During the decade I have spent in Iran, I saw and experienced the unconditional love and respect for Indians in the heart of Iranians. But unfortunately, the knowledge about Iran is not a common phenomenon among Indians, which brings us to the need for holding such exhibitions where the Indian society is shown a glimpse of real Iran through the eyes of an Indian who has experienced the warmhearted love of Iranian culture on a first-hand basis,” explains Mahdi.

Rowzaneh Exhibition- Aziz Mahdi

The images on display presents a completely fresh perspective of Iran from the eyes of an Indian photographer, who also happens to be an expert in various Indo-Iranian aspects. His works gives the viewers a complete different look of the country.

“This exhibition is just a glimpse of the beauty that lies hidden in Iran, away from the Indian eyes. Look into the eyes of portraits presented in this exhibition – you will see beauty, innocence, and honor. Look at the architectural masterpieces and you will be awestruck. Look at the serene landscapes and you would feel peace and tranquility. That is what I offer the audience of my exhibition, have a glimpse of Iran through my eyes, my lens,” concludes Mahdi.

The exhibition will be on view at India International Centre on July 24-30