Written by Florian Kazimirski

On February 10, 2020

Home by Gohar Dashti (aotw 6/20)

Home is the dominant theme of the Iranian photographer Gohar Gashti. In a very empathic way she manages to place her everyday environment in a political and social context. She processes her personal experience of war and expulsion into images that are beautiful and boundless…

Photo: “Home” by Gohar Dashti

Photo: “Home” by Gohar Dashti

how nature can be political

In her series “Home” Dashti shows in beautiful and surreal pictures the power of nature to consume and reconquer an abandoned home. But it is about much more than that. “Home” is not only a personal exploration about nature, but is also about how nature can be political. What happens to the environment when human populations are displaced or destroyed by war? People are transient while nature is a constant; it will be here long after we are all gone.

Photo: “Home” by Gohar Dashti

Photo: “Home” by Gohar Dashti

Homeland

On one of her trips, an emigrant friend asked Dashti to take a postcard back to her family in Iran. On the postcard was a photograph of the natural world in her new home. On its back was written, “I live here. A place similar to our home.”

„Similarly, I remember a documentary, in which the filmmaker asked his grandfather why he chose Texas when he immigrated to the US. His grandfather answered, “Because the nature here reminds me of my homeland: the wilderness in Iraq is just as vast.”

The idea behind her „Land/s“ series grew out of the fascination with these human-geographical narratives and their interconnection with her personal experiences.
„As with so many others, nature is what connects me to my homeland. It transcends borders and stays with me in my new living space; it is a base layer, a lens, an overlay; a tendril of wild fern sneaking into the frame.“

The limitless reach of nature and landscapes – immune to cultural and political divisions – and the ways in which immigrants inevitably search out and reconstruct these topographies in a new, ostensibly ‘foreign’ land together tell a story familiar to all humans. Regardless of who we are, our lives are layered and richly textured with physical and figurative uprootings and migrations: in flight and at rest, we carry our homelands with us.

Photo: “Land/s” by Gohar Dashti

Photo: “Land/s” by Gohar Dashti

Empathy

Gohar Dashti received her M.A. in Photography from the Fine Art University of Tehran in 2005. After that,  she has spent the last 15 years making the large scale of her practice concerning in social issues with particular references to history and culture through a convergence of interest in anthropology and sociology. She tries to trace her relationship to society and the world in it’s most sensitive way.

„When I talk about war in my works, it refers to war in the world, and also refers to my memories about war when I was child. Usually my works start as personal perceptions.“

Gohar Dashti

Photo: “Land/s” by Gohar Dashti

Photo: “Land/s” by Gohar Dashti

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