Untitled, from the series Slow Decay

For Gohar Dashti, photography is a means to express the sense of anxiety and loss that seems to pervade life in Iran today. Dashti has gained international renown for work that draws on her memories of growing up in Ahvaz, an ancient city in western Iran that became a flashpoint during the Iran-Iraq War (1980–88). Much of her practice involves staging tableaux that serve as metaphors for her generation’s collective memory of conflict and violence.

In her 2010 series Slow Decay, interior spaces become settings for subtly disturbing portraits that make palpable a sublimated and suffocating tension. For the series Iran, Untitled, Dashti composed scenes of isolated clusters of people in an arid landscape that call attention both to the fundamental human need to form communities and to the oppressive sense of insularity and frustration. In her most recent series Home, Dashti focuses on absence. Arranging hundreds of plants in buildings that had been abandoned due to war or other political circumstances, she amplifies their neglected state yet also suggests the persistence of life.


Woman guts fish on table while young boy looks onUntitled, from the series Slow Decay
Gohar Dashti (b. 1980)
Iran, 2010 (printed 2018)
Ink jet print on paper
Purchase—funds provided by the Jahangir and Eleanor Amuzegar Endowment for Contemporary Iranian Art
S2018.9

 

Young woman seated in front of a window, with man behind her standing. Red pen leak visible on man's shirt pocket.Untitled, from the series Slow Decay
Gohar Dashti (b. 1980)
Iran, 2010 (printed 2018)
Ink jet print on paper
Purchase—funds provided by the Jahangir and Eleanor Amuzegar Endowment for Contemporary Iranian Art
S2018.10

 

a cluster of people standing in the middle of a field holding luggage

Untitled, from the series Iran, Untitled
Gohar Dashti (b. 1980)
Iran, 2013 (printed 2018)
Ink-jet print, pigment based on paper
80 × 120 cm
Purchase—funds provided by the Jahangir and Eleanor Amuzegar Endowment for Contemporary Iranian Art
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery S2018.3

 

eleven women dressed in black seated on a long wooden bench in hilly fieldUntitled, from the series Iran, Untitled
Gohar Dashti (b. 1980)
Iran, 2013 (printed 2018)
Ink-jet print, pigment based on paper
80 × 120 cm
Purchase—funds provided by the Jahangir and Eleanor Amuzegar Endowment for Contemporary Iranian Art
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery S2018.4

 

Yellowing evergreen trees fill a courtyard and upstairs hallways.Untitled, from the series Home
Gohar Dashti (b. 1980)
Iran, 2017 (printed 2018)
Ink jet print, pigment based on paper
Purchase—funds provided by the Jahangir and Eleanor Amuzegar Endowment for Contemporary Iranian Art
S2018.11

 

Large grass fills a hallway of an empty house in disrepair.Untitled, from the series Home
Gohar Dashti (b. 1980)
Iran, 2017 (printed 2018)
Ink jet print, pigment based on paper
Purchase—funds provided by the Jahangir and Eleanor Amuzegar Endowment for Contemporary Iranian Art
S2018.12