— I was 11 years old when the revolution in Iran started in 1979. It had been a few years since my father had become obsessed with photography. Most of the demonstrations took place downtown, very near his office in Tehran. We lived in the northern part of the city, which was mainly an affluent neighborhood. Unlike me, most of the kids in our apartment complex that I was friend with had pro Shah, anti revolutionary parents. I knew what my father was up to with his camera everyday going to work and several times without my mother knowing he took me downtown to show me what was going on. I felt uncomfortable talking about all this to my neighbor friends, but one day I found out my father, behind my back on several occasions had gathered the kids up and had given them slide shows of his photos. Here are few out of many I have preserved:
Seven years later my father died of a sudden heart attach. I inherited his camera and all the gears with it. It had been three years since we had immigrated to U.S due to the Iran /Iraq war. On my first few trips back with his camera in hand I took slides obsessively; always of what was going on downtown and occasionally out of town. Here are some of them:
Raha Raissnia was born in 1968, in Tehran, Iran. She immigrated to U.S in 1983. She received her BFA from the School of the Art institute of Chicago in 1992 and her MFA from Pratt Institute in 2002. In the interim, her interest in avant-garde filmmaking led her to work at Anthology Film Archives (1995–1999), where she has also exhibited. In 2015, her work was included in All the World’s Futures, 56th International Art Exhibition, curated by Okwui Enwezor, Venice Biennale. Previously, her work has been featured in exhibitions at White Columns (New York), Access Gallery (Vancouver), the Museum of Contemporary Art St. Louis, Khastoo Gallery (Los Angeles), Thomas Dane Gallery (London) and The Kitchen (New York), among others. Recent solo shows were held at Miguel Abreu Gallery (New York), Galeria Marta Cervera (Madrid), Galerie Xippas (Paris), and the Isfahan Museum of Contemporary Art (Isfahan, Iran). Raissnia’s expanded cinema performances, undertaken in collaboration with musicians such as Panagiotis Mavridis, Charles Curtis, Aki Onda and Briggan Krauss have been held at The Drawing Center (New York), P.S.1 (New York), Arnolfini –Center for Contemporary Arts (Bristol, UK), Issue Project Room (New York), and Emily Harvey Foundation (New York), among others. Raissnia’s first solo show in Tehran was held at Ab/Anbar in December 2015. An upcoming retrospective of film-based works will be held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in March 2016.