Participants: Rouzbeh Akhbari and Eshrat Erfanian (Artists in Residency at Inside-Out Art Museum)
Time: 15:45 – 17:15
Venue: Conference Room, Inside-Out Art Museum
This conversation was developed pursuant to ongoing conversations between this month’s artist residents at Beijing Inside-Out Art Museum, Rouzbeh Akhbari and Eshrat Erfanian, and the Inside-Out Museum’s curatorial staff. Akhbari and Erfanian are different generation Iranian-Canadian artists with a research-driven practice and a shared interest in political economy, urban theory and politics of contemporary image production and distribution. In this event, they will build upon short anecdotes detailing the socio-political contexts framing their departure from Iran and their transition into the arts. This will serve as a starting point to portray a broader image of the minutiae of forces at work in Iranian contemporary art today, particularly under the rigid western-backed sanction regimes that have crippled the mainstream economic structures of the country.
In hopes of dissecting the complexity of the international gaze upon Iran’s contemporary art scene, this conversation will reflect on a major exhibition of Iranian artists presented in Toronto’s Agha Khan Museum last year, and question its formation as a cultural product primarily constructed for an exotifying western consumer. In contrast, the artists will elaborate on the role of international residencies and alternative/noncommercial spaces that have pried open new opportunities for Iranian artists to engage in important conversations, exhibitions and knowledge sharing within the Global South. Lastly, the conversation will end by situating the current state of affairs in Iran’s arts scene today within the greater regional consciousness of the Arab Spring and its political byproducts.
About the Participants