Iranian artist Fatemeh Baigmoradi has created a work informed by her parents’ past; ‘It’s Hard To Kill’ explores memory and history through a prism of political censorship by razing people with fire from photographs.
Baigmoradi’s parents have very few photos of their life in Iran from before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The pictures they do have survived burning, their contents not pertaining to political ‘guilt’. ‘It’s Hard To Kill’ is a meditation on such fear and censorship; in it Baigmoradi has taken others family photographs and removed the identity of the people within them with flames.
The Islamic Revolution began with a popular movement towards democracy, and ended with the establishment of the world’s first Islamic State. Prior to the revolution, the opposition groups fell into three main groups: Marxist, Islamist and the Constitutionalist (which included the National Front). As Baigmoradi explains in her statement about the piece: “All three participated in the 1979 revolution, but gradually after victory, the Islamist party that had the majority started to put the other parties away, by slandering and condemning, then arresting, forcing into exile, and execution.”
Her father had been a member of the National Front party, and in the years that followed the revolution he burnt photos that referenced his membership in a frantic, but necessary, act of survival. These photos were, Bagmoraidi notes, “probably burned in a fearful ritual to protect my father, or at least not to harm him.” Obsessed by the idea of these destroyed photographs, in ‘It’s Hard To Kill’, Baigmoradi makes a broader comment on political censorship and fear. “I am making my work based on a true story that happened over and over for different people, from different nations, after social revolutions,” she explains. In this way, ‘It’s Hard To Kill’ seems both an act of protection, and a statement about freedom.
All images © Fatemeh Baigmoradi