Interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour: Iranian Art in the Shadow of a Crackdown
Violent state repression of protests in Iran is not unique, yet the lethal means government forces used to repress recent protests that broke out across dozens of cities reached new heights this year, resulting in at least 208 deaths between November 15, 2019, and December 2, according to reporting by Amnesty International.
“What shocked me about this protest is that the government was completely prepared for it; they had a plan. They knew protests would break out and what was really disturbing is that they started shooting right away,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
Ghaemi spoke alongside renowned visual artist Shirin Neshat, who volunteered her time to curate CHRI’s biennial exhibition, a “Bridge Between You and Everything,” which was on display at the High Line Nine gallery in New York when the protests exploded across Iran in mid-November.
Focused on advocating freedom of expression in the age of state censorship by featuring the works of more than a dozen women artists who were born after Iran’s 1979 revolution, the exhibition highlights concerns and issues all artists of Iranian descent are forced to deal with when executing their visions.
“I think every artist from Iran, whether they are living inside or outside, is dealing with how to formulate a response that is meaningful, is not dangerous, and is not a self-promotion,” said Neshat. “I wonder if in the future we could be artists who don’t fear, and what kind of art we would make.”