The capital city of Tehran is the epicenter of arts and creation in Iran, both official and underground scenes. I spent several months following actors, dancers, performing artists and musicians resilient in producing their passions outside the confines of censorship – as well as inside. While some were working officially, others preferred to go “underground”, seeking for a greater freedom. The Islamic Republic of Iran has established a number of rules and limitations regarding arts and Navigating these restrictions has become an art form itself.
Nevertheless, performers do get a chance to work and have their art seen by the public. Censorship is never an ultimate obstacle, quite the contrary. It incites artists to be more creative and innovative, pushing the limitations each time further away. It is possible for an artist to take part in an official performance while working on illegal projects.
Iranian artists show formidable creativity and determination to cope with censorship. Tehran’s art scene is growing fast, giving birth to new talents and producing inspiring works. The recently elected president, Hassan Rohani, a moderate politician and cleric, is said to be in favor of promoting art and giving more freedom to artists. Is it the beginning of a more hopeful era in Iran? Only time will tell…
This work was first published in 6Mois. Get it here.
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