Bahman Jalali and his wife and closest collaborator, Rana Javadi, are known for their crisp documentary images and haunting photomontage works. Driven by the medium’s powerful – and fragile – relationship to memory, they have created an unprecedented visual record of a tumultuous time in their homeland.

Living in two stages: Photograph by Bahman Jalali and Rana Javadi from August 6, 2022 to January 8, 2023 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art. The exhibition features images from the two photographers in the iconic series Days of blood, days of firecapturing events in Tehran during the 1979 Iranian Revolution, as well as footage from Jalali’s Khorramshahr: a destroyed city and Abadan continues to fightdrawn from his years on the Iran-Iraq war front.

Throughout his career, Jalali returned to his project of observing the lives and changing landscapes of Iran. A third section of the exhibition presents a selection of his images of fishing communities in the northern Persian Gulf. In addition to their documentary projects, Jalali and Javadi have curated archives from the early 20th century, which they have used as a basis for creating vivid photomontages that explore the role of the medium in documenting history.

It will be the first museum retrospective in the United States that offers insight into Jalali’s extensive practice and the first to be presented with a selection of Javadi’s evocative work from the late 1970s to the present day.

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