Speak the Wind by Hoda Afshar

Winds have shaped the islands off the southern coast of Iran, in the Strait of Hormuz, and over many centuries, tides have brought to these islands an ancient and complex group of people. Here, there is a commonly held belief that the wind can possess a person, and can equally be exorcised from them through an intense ceremony of dance and music.

In the exhibition, Speak the Wind, Iranian-born Australian artist Hoda Afshar proffers an enigmatic view of the rituals and lives that play out within the astounding landscape of these islands. As she uses photography and moving image to ensnare and parse the winds of the Strait of Hormuz, Afshar also grapples with the history of documentary photography; its beauty and its limits.

© Hoda Afshar. Untitlted 2015-20, from the series, Speak the Wind.

For this large, solo exhibition, Afshar returned to her homeland to make work on the islands off the southern coast of Iran where winds have shaped incredible land masses, and tides have brought an ancient and complex group of people together. On these islands, there is a commonly held belief that a wind, known as Zar, can possess a person, and can equally be exorcised from them through an intense ceremony of dance and music.

Speak the Wind is an official exhibition of PHOTO 2022 International Festival of Photography (photo.org.au), a major biennial of new photography and ideas taking place from 29 April to 22 May in Melbourne and regional Victoria.
Curator: Pippa Milne, MGA Senior Curator

About Hoda Afshar

Hoda Afshar (1983- ) was born in Tehran, Iran, and is now based in Naarm (Melbourne), Australia. Through her practice, she explores the nature and possibilities of documentary image-making. Working across photography and moving image, the artist considers the representation of gender, marginality, and displacement. In her artworks, Afshar employs processes that disrupt traditional image-making practices, play with the presentation of imagery, or merge aspects of conceptual, staged, and documentary photography.

In 2021, Afshar's first monograph, Speak the Wind, was published by MACK in London. Recent exhibitions include; We change the world, National Gallery of Victoria (2021), In progress, Bristol Photo Festival, UK (2021), PHOTO International Festival of Photography in Melbourne (2021), Between the sun and the moon: Lahore Biennale (2020), Remain, UQ Museum of Art in Brisbane (2019), Beyond place, Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego CA, USA (2019), and Primavera 2018, Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.

In 2015, she received the National Photographic Portrait Prize, National Portrait Gallery, in 2018 won Bowness Photography Prize, Monash Gallery of Art, Australia, and in 2021, she won the People's Choice award of the Ramsay Art Prize, Art Gallery of South Australia. Afshar is a member of eleven, a collective of contemporary Muslim Australian artists, curators, and writers whose aim is to disrupt the current politics of representation and hegemonic discourses.

She is represented by Milani Gallery in Brisbane, Australia.

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