Midwest Photographers Project: Hossein Fatemi

Hossein Fatemi, Iran, Tehran, Women being made-up in a beauty salon where it is illegal for men to enter as it is for men to do a woman’s make-up

About the Exhibition

Since 1997, Chicago-based photojournalist Hossein Fatemi (Iranian, b. 1980; resides in Chicago, IL) has traveled throughout the Middle East, covering global social issues and current affairs. His series An Iranian Journey documents the daily life of youth in Fatemi’s homeland of Iran, presenting an alternative picture of a country that has been demonized, sanctioned, and isolated for over thirty years by the West.

A portfolio in the Midwest Photographers Project (MPP), the MoCP’s rotating collection of over 1,500 photographs by regional artists, An Iranian Journey dispels clichés and stereotypes, revealing the pronounced divide between public and private spheres in contemporary Iran. The Islamic government’s vision of society is manifestly at odds with the lived realities of its secular majority of citizens, especially women. Daily, millions of young women engage in activities that are officially illegal in the Islamic Republic, shrugging off the paternalistic laws of the Mullahs. For over 15 years, Fatemi has documented the complexities of contemporary Iranian society from the inside, photographing hundreds of individuals who allow him into their private lives, where religious legislation and custom hold little sway.

Inaugurated in 1982, MPP is a collection of portfolios of recent and ongoing work by photographers based in the Midwest. Representing the diverse range of media, subject matter, and styles of contemporary photography, MPP currently includes the work of 84 photographers, with new portfolios introduced almost every month.

The 2015-2016 season is sponsored by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, the Abramson Arts Foundation, and Nixon Peabody LLCP.

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