Morteza Darehbaghi, Illumination and Peace

You approach the Iran pavilion at the Venice Biennale with caution. What sort of art would the government of President Ahmadinejad approve? In fact there was a moving and disturbing installation showing hundreds of faces of the dead, not of the recent riots of course, but of the Iran/Iraq war in the 1980s, a far greater conflict and one of the most serious of the 20th century. It is a room of infinity mirrors with the faces multiplied by the reflections into a sort of pictorial cemetry, and memorial.

My work is inspired by the 240,000 Iranian martyrs who laid down their lives in the war between Iran and Iraq. Out of 240,000 martyrs, a tiny number of 2000 images were used in the installation due to limited space. I am trying to impart the feeling that any visitor could be the martyr he is looking at.

The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art organized the Iran Pavilion. See this article in The Guardian for a disturbing story about its collection.


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