Flinders researcher curates Iranian protest art

An online gallery of artworks created or circulated by protestors of Iran’s 2009 presidential election has been developed by Flinders University PhD candidate Amin Ansari (pictured).

The Greens Arts website, presented in both Farsi and English, is a central depository of historical multimedia distributed by professional and amateur artists in the months leading up to and the years following the controversial 2009 election.

More than 1,400 artworks – including posters, cartoons, music and movies – are so far exhibited on the website, with a separate section covering works by pro-government activists.

“The election was very controversial because Mir Hossein Mousavi actually won but the government somehow hijacked the process and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected, not by the people but the government,” Mr Ansari, based in Flinders Department of Screen and Media, said.

“The Green Movement refers to the grassroots protests against the result of the election, and about 90 per cent of protest artworks distributed during the time had green elements to represent Mir Hossein Mousavi’s campaign colour,” he said.

“Since the election, the colour green has become a symbol of hope and resistance in Iran.”

Mr Ansari said the exhibition features works not only by Green Movement activists but by other campaigners during the pre and post-election period, with the site updated daily and plans for more resources, including interviews with specialists and artists, to be added over time.

“Visitors can view a collection of artworks in more than 20 categories and search for particular pieces based on important events from 2009 to 2011 – in a way it’s like multimedia history-telling.

“A number of high-profile professionals and artists who created some of the works to support the movement are also categorised so visitors can find out more about them by going to their personal pages.”

Mr Ansari said a key aim of the Green Arts project was to preserve the “artistic treasures of Iranian art and digital media history”.

“Most of the works were distributed via the internet and therefore risked getting lost over time.

“Not only does the website collate and characterise these works in one central location, it gives audiences the chance to look back at one of the most important social and political movements in Iran’s contemporary history from a new perspective.

“There are still lots of protests going on in the Middle East and in other parts of the world so it’s important for people to think about the power of art in times of conflict.”

Mr Ansari presented his website at the 19th International Symposium on Electronic Art in Sydney in June.



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