Iranian Revolution Guest Artist: Anonymous I know nothing about the revolution. It happened over a decade before I was born. I know nothing about Iran today, either. I left it for good almost a decade ago. After all these years, when someone asks me what it was like living in Iran, I can pretty much sum it up with a few images and significant events, all of which are one terrible thing after another. Some people love it there or have been told that they do, or even better, voluntarily blinded themselves to the trauma and think it is the best place on earth. Others either have left it for good or died on their way to trying to make it a better place. There is no life in between the extreme events. In the gaps, you’ll find kids growing up under tight schooling and brainwashing, stripped out of their personality and growing up with nothing to look forward to and no sense of future. I have nothing personal to portray what I remember with besides the images I was told to remember. Once there were people who wanted better, but they were wrong; or they weren’t wrong, but the government that took charge turned evil after they came to power. Once there was a war and, though it was the politicians who started it, civilians had to die to save the country. And thereafter, everyone had to pay for the unfortunate mistake of their past generation. Somewhere between 1978 and the present is my generation. Trapped in an identity crisis and constantly blaming the past. The artist who selected these images and transformed them into embroidery patterns grew up in Iran and immigrated to Canada when she was eighteen. She chooses to remain anonymous to protect herself and friends and family who remain in Iran. The artist has been paid fees for the inclusion of her patterns in this project. Paying artists for their work is recognition of the central cultural work that they perform.
Shah of Iran Removal of a statue of the Shah in Tehran University during the revolution in 1978. Unknown Photographer.
A pro-revolution Iranian woman in Tehran, 1979 Kaveh Kazemi/ Getty Images
Protesters around Shahyad Tower (later Azadi Tower) in Tehran, Iran, 1979 Aristotle Saris / Wikimedia
Alleged enemies of the Iranian Revolution are executed in Sanandaj, Iran on August 27, 1979. Jahangir Razmi/UPI
Child soldier in the Iran-Iraq war, 1980 to 1988 Untitled - Bahman Jalali
Mother sending son to war, Iran-Iraq War, 1980 to 1988 Unknown source
Veiled women practice shooting, Tehran, Iran, 1986 Jean Gaumy/ Magnum Photo
Young schoolgirls training as Basijis (mobilized volunteer forces), Tehran, 1988 Kaveh Kazemi/ Getty Images
Four seater motorbike, Shahr Rey, Iran, 1997 Abbas Attar/ Magnum Photo