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Recording the truth in Iran

My brother is gone: Just like the fallen of Revolution, many of the soldiers who died during the Iran-Iraq war are buried in the Behest Zahra cemetery -Tehran 1980 (photo: Kaveh Golestan Foundation)

The University of St Andrews will be the first venue to show a new exhibition of work by renowned Iranian photojournalist and filmmaker Kaveh Golestan who died after stepping on a landmine while filming with the BBC in Northern Iraq.

The exhibition of poignant black and white images (some as large as 150cm by 200cm) has been put together by Kaveh’s widow Hengameh Golestan, also a photographer, who co-edited the recently published book Kaveh Golestan – Recording the Truth in Iran.  The book is named after the documentary Kaveh Golestan made for Channel Four television about journalists in Iran and which resulted in a two year house arrest.

The free exhibition in the ground floor foyer of the University’s New Arts Building, off The Scores, St Andrews, will be open to the public 9am-5pm from Thursday 5 June – Wednesday 18 June, including Saturday 7 and 14 of June and Sunday 15 June.

Injured Kurdish Boy (photo: Kaveh Golestan Foundation)The exhibition and the Visual Representation of Iran Conference and Film Season, which have been organised by the University’s department of Social Anthropology, Institute for Iranian Studies and the Centre for Film Studies this month (13-16 June), are being presented jointly by the University and the Iran Heritage Foundation.

Professor Ali Ansari, Director of the Institute for Iranian Studies, said the Institute was delighted and proud to be the first venue for the prestigious exhibition.

He said, “Kaveh Golestan was an inspirational photographer who produced iconic images of lives in turmoil, often operating in the most exacting conditions in World troublespots.”

The stark images in the exhibition cover the period from 1975 to the late 1990s when Kaveh Golestan was eyewitness to the Iranian Revolution. The photographs capture not only the political upheavals that radically changed the country into a republic but are also intimate portrayals of people and society in rapid transition.

Kaveh Golestan is considered to have produced an unrivalled body of work concerning conflict and war, including the Iran-Iraq war, uprisings in Kurdistan and both Gulf wars.

A student mourns a friend shot outside Tehran University I979 (photo Kaveh Golestan)Photography brought Kaveh Golestan worldwide acclaim, including in a paradoxical way as a result of his period of house arrest during which he was forced to lecture at the art college of the University of Tehran and which resulted in his inspiring a generation of photojournalists and reporters.

In 1999 he joined the BBC’s Tehran bureau and on 2 April 2003, while on an assignment he stepped on a landmine and died in Kilfri, Northern Iraq at the age of 52.

BBC Foreign Correspondent Jim Muir, who was with Kaveh Golestan when he stepped on the landmine, will travel from Beirut to attend a reception to mark the exhibition and take part in a panel discussion entitled `Representing Iran: Image, Media and Modern Iran’ on Friday 13 June.

Jim Muir will be joined on the panel by Channel Four News anchor Jon Snow, filmmaker Taghi Amirani and Dr Pedram Khosronejad from the University of St Andrews department of Social Anthropology. Professor Ali Ansari will chair the event which is being organised by the Institute for Iranian Studies.

Ends

Note to editors:

1 The Institute for Iranian Studies at the University of St Andrews was launched on 31st October 2006 by Seyyed Mohammad Khatami, former president of Iran (1997-2005). The Institute serves as a focal point for research and discussion on all aspects of Iranian studies. It offers a taught postgraduate programme which is the first taught postgraduate programme of its kind in the UK.

Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Marion Gibson / Gayle Cook on 01334 462167 / 467227 / 462529.
Ref:  Golestan exhibition 040608
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