Basharat Bashir

Shirin Aliabadi: Artist and Artwork

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Shirin Aliabadi was born in Tehran, Iran in 1973 and grew up surrounded by artists and intellectuals. Her mother being an artist and her father a poet influenced Aliabadi to also go for a creative field for herself. She was mentored by her elder brother who coached her on art, music, and pop culture. Aliabadi studied art history at the University of Paris, where she also earned a master’s degree in art history.

Iranian contemporary multidisciplinary visual artist Aliabadi is best known for her depiction of rebellious Iranian women.  Her art, which includes photographs and drawings, explores the competing effects on young urban Iranian women of traditional values, religious restrictions and globalized western culture. She is well known for her photographic series  ‘Girls in Cars’ and Miss Hybrid.  About her famous photographic series Girls in Cars (2005), which portrayed women riding around in cars, ready to party Aliabadi had said ”I was stuck in traffic one weekend in a pretty posh part of Tehran surrounded by beautiful girls made up to go to a party or just cruising in their cars, and I thought then that this image of women chained by tradition and the hijab is not even close to reality here. They all had music on and were chatting to each other between the cars and making eyes and conversation with boys in other vehicles. Although respectful of the laws, they were having fun”.

In ‘Miss Hybrid’ Aliabadi portrays young Iranian women with bleached blonde hair, blue contact lenses, perfect makeup, and brightly colored headscarves, in stark contrast to the more commonly projected images of Muslim women swathed in a dull colored chador with no makeup and no hair showing. The women often have bandaids across their noses, a nod to a fashion statement among Iranian youth connoting the increasingly common incidence of plastic surgery. The photographs are depicted similar to studio portraits, portrayed from the mid-torso against dark backgrounds. The portraits are hybrids between traditional attire and contemporary fashion trends, commenting on artificial beauty and the sartorial confines of some Muslim women.

in 1993 Aliabadi married Farhad Moshiri, another artist and collaborated with him In various art events . she worked between Paris and Tehran for most of her career, but was primarily based in Tehran and she was represented by The Third Line gallery in Dubai for more than ten years. Aliabadi died on 1 October  2018  in Tehran at the age of 45.

Her work has appeared in solo exhibitions in Dubai, Tehran, London, Switzerland and Denmark and in group exhibitions at the Institut des cultures d’Islam [fr] in Paris, the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow, at Frieze New York, at the Chelsea Art Museum, in Monaco, in Rio de Janeiro, in Copenhagen, in Italy, in Norway, in Estonia, in Germany, in Switzerland and in Spain. Her work is held in the collections of Deutsche Bank AG in Germany, the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery and the Farjam Collection in Dubai.

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