Shadi Ghadirian - EMERGEAST
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Shadi Ghadirian
b. 1974, Iran

Shadi Ghadirian is a leading and renowned contemporary photographer living and working in Tehran. Through her work, she critically comments on the pushes and pulls between tradition and modernity for women living in Iran, as well as other contradictions that exist in everyday life. Ghadirian gained international recognition through the series Qajar and Like Every Day in 1998 and 2001. In Ghadirian’s first series, Qajar (1998), the artist arranged portraits of women, mainly her friends and family, using backdrops and dress reminiscent of the Qajar era (1785-1925), but added contemporary Western props such as a boom box, a Pepsi can, a phone or a vacuum. Portraits taken in the Qajar period were traditionally captured in a formal setting, and the subject often posed with prized possessions and objects that pointed to elite status. This juxtaposition of the traditional and the contemporaneous served as a starting off point for later series that further developed around the theme of contradiction in everyday life in contemporary Iran.

Ghadirian’s work exists in public collections at The British Museum and The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the LACMA Museum in California, The Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Mumok in Vienna, the Musée d’Art et d’Archéologie in Aurillac, the Devi Art Foundation in Gurgaon, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran.

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Over 20 international solo exhibitions
Over 120 international group shows
Biennale participant
Museum exhibitions
Permanent museum collections

Artist Statement


“My pictures became a mirror reflecting how I felt: we are stuck between tradition and modernity. This conflict between old and new is how the younger generation are currently living in Iran. We may embrace modernity, but we’re still in love with our country’s traditions”


Solo Exhibitions

2016 'Like Every Day And Nil Nil', AB43 Contemporary, Zurich, Switzerland
2015 'Shadi Ghadirian – Rétrospective', Bibliothèque de la Part Dieu, Lyon
2015 'The Others Me', Officine dell’Immagine, Milan, Italy
2015 'Shadi Ghadirian: a retrospective', Dar al Funoon Gallery, Kuwait
2015 'Shadi Ghadirian', Robert Klein Gallery, Boston, USA
2013 'Miss Butterfly', Lakeeren Gallery, Mumbai, India
2012 'Shadi Ghadirian', Podbielski Contemporary, Berlin, Germany
2012 'Shadi Ghadirian: Voices of The Other Half', Rossi & Rossi Ltd, London, UK
2012 'The International Photo Festival', Kusadasi, Turkey
2011 'West by East', Queen Gallery, Toronto, Canada
2011 'Miss Butterfly', Silk Road Gallery, Tehran, Iran
2010 'Shadi Ghadirian - Solo', The Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai, India
2009 'Shadi Ghadirian', Galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris, France
2009 'Shadi Ghadirian - Ghost Gifts', CO2 contemporary art, Rome, Italy
2009 'Shadi Ghadirian - a photographer from Iran', AEROPLASTICS contemporary, Brussels
2009 'Shadi Ghadirian - Photographer', Tasveer Gallery, Kolkata, India
2009 'Shadi Ghadirian - Photographer', Tasveer Gallery, Delhi, India
2009 'Shadi Ghadirian - Photographer', Tasveer Gallery, Bangalore, India
2009 FCG Duesseldorf, Germany
2008 Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California, USA
2008 'Shadi Ghadirian', Silk Road Gallery, Tehran, Iran
2007 'Like Everyday - Qajar - Be Colourful', B21 Gallery, Dubai, UAE
2007 Photography Festival of Istanbul, Turkey
2006 French Cultural Center, Damascus, Syria
2006 Al mamal Foundation2, Jerusalem, Palestine
2002 Villa Moda, Kuwait
2001 Exhibition of Fnac, France
1999 Golestan Gallery, Tehran, Iran

Group Exhibitions

2016 Into View, Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia
2016 Islamic Art Now, Contemporary Art of the Middle East, Part II, Los Angeles County Museum of Art - LACMA, Los Angeles, CA, USA
2016 Daegu Photo Biennale 2016, EXCO, Daegu
Parallel Vienna 2016, Parallel Vienna, Vienna
2016 'Burnt Generation: Contemporary Iranian Photography', Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP), Chicago, USA
2016 'She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World', National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC, USA
2016 'Miradas paralelas. Irán-España: fotógrafas en el espejo', Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Madrid, Spain
2016 'Defilages- Gender & Ae´rt Textile aujourd’hui', Galerie 100Titres, Brussels
2016 'Iran Art Now!', Setareh Gallery, Dusseldorf, Germany
2015 'Flashback', Haleh Gallery, Berg am Starnberger See
2015 'The Eye of the Shah: Qajar Court Photography and the Persian Past', Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York City, USA
2015 'She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World', Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburg, PA, USA
2015 'Humble me', AEROPLASTICS contemporary, Brussels, Belgium
2015 'She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World', Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University, Stanford, Caifornia, USA
2015 'Too early, too late: Middle East and Modernity', Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna, Bologna, Italy
2015 'Burnt Generation - The Founders', Gallery at The Military Museums, Calgary, AB, USA
2015 56th Venice Biennale, The Great Game – Iranian Pavilion, Venice, Italy
2015 'Cherchez l’erreur', Institut des Cultures d’Islam, Paris, France
2015 'SELF: Portraits of Artists in Their Absence', National Academy Museum, New York, USA
2014 'Voice of Tacitness: Asian Women Photography', Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong
2014 'Iran_Rio Art Connection', Largo Das Artes, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
2014 'Majority World Photo', Gulf Photo Plus (GPP), Dubai, UAE
2014 'The Middle East Revealed: A Female Perspective', Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York City, USA
2014 'Contemporary Iranian Photography', Fine Arts Gallery of Cal State L.A., Los Angeles, California, USA
2014 'Burnt Generation', Somerset House, London, UK
2014 'Full House - 15 Years of Inventory and Exhibitions', Aeroplastics Contemporary, Brussels, Belgium
2014 'Displacement', Silk Road Gallery, Tehran, Iran
2014 'The winter video art (Iran And Japan)', Azad Art Gallery, Tehran, Iran
2013 'Photography Art: Beginning a Collection', Silk Road Gallery, Tehran, Iran
2013 'She Who Tells a Story - Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World', MFA - Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA
2013 'L’eveil Du Moyen Orient', Galerie Mark Hachem, Paris, France
2013 'Identity', Haleh Gallery, Berg am Starnberger, Germany
2013 See Harem Fantasies and the New Sheherzades, CCCB, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
2012 'AKS: Pictorial Representations from Iran', Rose Issa Projects, London, UK
2012 'Light from the Middle East: About the Exhibition', Victoria & Albert Museum - V&A, London, UK
2012 'Social Order: Women Photographers from Iran, India and Afghanistan', Photographic Center Northwest, Seattle, USA
2012 'The Other Half Of Iran', SEM-ART Gallery, Monaco
2012 'The Fertile Crescent: Gender, Art and Society', Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, USA
2012 'Iranian Arts Now', Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, France
2012 'Green: A Spring Hanging', Rose Issa Projects, London, UK
2012 'Iranian Perspectives: A Group Show', Richard Young Gallery, London, UK
2012 'The elephant in the dark', Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon, India
2012 'Evreux', Maison des Arts, France
2012 Tbilisi Photo Festival, Georgia
2012 Museum of contemporary art, Isfahan, Iran
2012 'Majority World', Guardian Gallery, London, UK
2012 Biennial of Fashion Photography, Varazdin, Croatia
2011 'The Pool', Mohsen Gallery, Tehran, Iran
2011 'THEO LENDERS 1955-2011', Odapark Venray - Centrum hedendaagse kunst, Venray, Netherlands
2011 'Pulso Iraniano', Oi Futuro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2011 'PHotoEspaña 2011 - PHotoEspaña', Madrid, Spain
2011 'Summer Group Show - Artists Of The Gallery', Podbielski Contemporary, Berlin, Germany
2011 'Idols and Icons', YAVUZ Fine Art, Singapore
2011 Miragens, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil - CCBB - Brasília
2011 'Zendegi: Twelve Contemporary Iranian Artists', Beirut Exhibition Center, Beirut, Lebanon
2011 'Of women's modesty and anger', Villa Empain - Boghossian Foundation, Brussels, Belgium
2011 'Staging Identity', Kashya Hildebrand, Zürich, Switzerland
2011 'Miragens', Instituto Tomie Ohtake, São Paulo, Brazil
2011 'Miragens', Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil - CCBB - São Paulo, Brazil
2011 The French Cultural Center in Yangon, Burma
2011 Cool Art Café, Brussels, Belgium
2011 Artespacio CAF,Bolivia
2011 Tehran Monoxide Project, Kherad School, Tehran, Iran
2010 'La Route de la Soie', Tri Postal, Lille, France
2010 'Miragens', Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil - CCBB - Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
2010 Recent Self-portraites, Silk Road Gallery, Tehran, Iran
2010 'Barakat: The Gift', Stux Gallery, New York City, USA
2010 'Stare at the Other Side', Albareh Art Gallery, Manama
2010 'Tehran-New York', Leila Heller Gallery, New York City, USA
2010 'The Promise of Loss. A Contemporary Index of Iran', Arario New York, New York City, USA
2010 Cmooa Gallery, Morocco
2010 Festival Images, Vevey, Switzerland
2010 'IRAN: Preview of the past', University of Applied Arts, Vienna, Austria
2010 'Act of Faith', Abdijdmuseum Ten Duinen' in Koksijde, Belgium
2009 'That’s all Folks!', Cultuurcentrum Brugge, Bruges, Belgium
2009 'The Promise Of Loss', HilgerBROTKunsthalle, Vienna, Austria
2009 'Routes II', Waterhouse & Dodd, London, UK
2009 Photography, Purdy Hicks Gallery, London, UK
2009 Purdy Hicks Summer Party, Purdy Hicks Gallery, London, UK
2009 'Rebelle - Kunst & Feminisme 1969 - 2009', Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem - MMKA, Arnhem
2009 'Selseleh/Zelzeleh: Movers & Shakers in Contemporary Iranian Art', Leila Heller Gallery, New York City, USA
2009 'The seen and the hidden: [dis]covering the veil', Austrian Cultural Forum New York, New York City, USA
2009 'Iranian Photography Now', Rose Issa Projects, London, UK
2009 'Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East', The Saatchi Gallery, London, UK
2009 Mall Gallery, Masques of Shahrzad, London, UK
2009 Du Quai Branly Museum, Paris, France
2009 Guild Art Gallery, New York, USA
2008 'Look what love did to us once again', Cramer Art Gallery, Geneva, Switzerland
2008 'Deadly Serious', EXPRMNTL Galerie, Toulouse
Mahrem, Tanas, Berlin, Germany
2008 Cultura Subyugada - Interrupciones y resistencias sobre lo femenino, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Rosario (MACRo), Rosario
2008 Word into Art: Artists of the Modern Middle East, British Museum, London, UK
2008 Mahrem - Anmerkungen zum Schleier, Kunsthalle wien project space karlsplatz, Vienna, Austria
2008 'Word Into Art', DIFC, Dubai, UAE
2007 Il velo, Cesac - Centro Sperimentale per le Arti Contemporanee, Caraglio
2007 'Rare Essence', AEROPLASTICS contemporary, Brussels, Belgium
2007 Group Exhibition, Silk Road Gallery, Tehran, Iran
2007 Noorderlicht photofestival, Netherlands
2007 La Paz, Bolivia
2007 San Diego Convention Centre, California, USA
2006 Wahre Bilder, FO.KU.S - Foto Kunst Stadtforum, Innsbruck
2006 'The other side of the body', Galerie Helene Lamarque, Paris, France
2006 Peintres de la vie moderne Modern-life painters - Donation - Caisse des Dépôts' photograph collection, Centre Pompidou - Musée National d´Art Moderne, Paris, France
2006 'Why Pictures Now', Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig - MUMOK , Vienna, Austria
2006 'voiler dévoiler', Villa du Parc - Centre d'Art Contemporain, Annemasse
2006 Word into Art, ArtSchool Palestine, London, UK
2006 'Blessed are the Merciful', Kinz + Tillou, New York City, USA
2006 Orient - Okzident, Goethe-Institut Kairo, Cairo, Egypt
2006 Artspace Witzenhausen, Amsterdam, Netherlands
2006 'The Veiled Mirror', Contemporary Iranian Photography, De Santos Gallery, Houston, USA
2006 'Word into Art : Artists of the Modern Middle East', The British Museum, London, UK
2006 'Image of Middle East', dccd, Denmark
2006 'Ey Iran', Contemporary Iranian Photography, Gold Cost City Art Gallery, Australia
2006 Le Rectangle, Lyon, France
2006 Selyemes Fenyek, Budapest, Hungary
2006 Inaugura en Tucumán, Mexico
2005 'Oracle of Truth', AEROPLASTICS contemporary, Brussels, Belgium
2005 'Orient Okzident', Frauenmuseum Wiesbaden, Wiesbaden, Germany
2005 Occident vist des d'Orient, CCCB - Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
2005 Rebel mind Gallery, Berlin, Germany
2005 Foto Art Festival, Poland
2005 Group Exhibition, After the revolution, Sansebastian, Spain
2005 N Gallery, Georgia
2005 Galata Fotografhanesi, Istanbul, Turkey
2005 Boudin Lebon Gallery, Paris, France
2005 Third Line Gallery, Dubai, UAE
2004 'Orient - Okzident', Goethe-Institut Casablanca , Casablanca, Morocoo
2004 Orient - Okzident, Goethe-Institut Rabat, Rabat, Morocco
2004 Entfernte Nähe - Neue Positionen Iranischer Künstler, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany
2004 'Domestic Odyssey', San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose
2004 'Orient - Okzident', Rathausgalerie Aalen, Aalen, Germany
2004 Blessed are the Merciful, AEROPLASTICS contemporary, Brussels, Belgium
2004 The House of World Cultures, Berlin, Germany
2004 Photo Biennale of Moscow, Russia
2004 Parliament of Brussels
2004 Photo Biennale of Luxemburg
2004 Chobi Mella 3, Bangladesh
2003 Det fördoldas verklighet – Aletheia, Göteborgs Konstmuseum, Gothenburg
2003 'Orient - Okzident', Kommunale Galerie Berlin, Berlin, Germany
2003 'Orient - Okzident', Frauenmuseum Bonn, Bonn
6th Sharjah International Biennial, Sharjah Biennial, Sharjah
2003 'Orient - Okzident', Prinz-Max-Palais, Karlsruhe
Veil, Institute of International Visual Arts - iniva, London, UK
2003 Harem Fantasies and the new Scheherzades, Spain and France
2003 Ville De Bologna, France
2003 Sorbonne University, Paris, France
2002 Iranian Look - A Selection of Photos by Contemporary Iranian Photographers, Tehran, Iran
2002 Museum of Contemporary Art, Tehran, Iran
2002 Silk Road Gallery, Tehran, Iran
2002 Thessaloniki Museum of Photography (Glimpses Of Iran), Greece
2001 Fotonoviembre, Centro de Fotografía Isla de Tenerife, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
2001 A Space Gallery, Toronto, Canada
2001 Barbican Art Center (Iranian Contemporary Art), London, UK
2001 Photospania Festival, Spain
2001 'Regards Persans', Espace Electra, Paris, France
2000 'Inheritance', Leiton House Museum, London, UK
2000 Nikolaj Contemporary Art Center Copenhagen, Denmark
2000 Ballymena Arts Festival, Northern Ireland
2000 The House of World Cultures, Berlin, Germany
2000 The Iranian Women's Studies Foundation, Worth Ryder Gallery at University of California, Berkeley, USA
1999 Leighton House Museum, London, UK
1998 Sooreh International photo exhibition, Tehran
Barg Gallery, Tehran, Iran
1997 Group Exhibition (About Children), Aria Gallery, Tehran, Iran
1997 Tehran International Documentary Photo exhibition, Tehran, Iran

Permanent Collections

The British Museum, London
The Victoria and Albert Museum, London
LACMA, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California
The Smithsonian museum, Washington DC
Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston (USA)
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
Mumok (Museum Modern Kunst Sitftung Ludwig), Vienna
Musée d’art et d’archéologie de la ville d’Aurillac
Devi Art Foundation, India
Museum of contemporary Art, Tehran
Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane