Biography

A self-taught photographer, Newsha Tavakolian (b.1981, Tehran, Iran) began working as a professional photographer with the Iranian press at age 16. Beginning at the women’s daily newspaper, Zan, she later worked for nine other reformist dailies, all which have since been banned. At 21, she began working internationally, covering wars, natural disasters and social documentary stories in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Yemen.

Her work has been published by international magazines and newspapers such as Time, Newsweek, Stern, Le Figaro, Colors, New York Times Sunday magazine, The New Yorker, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, NRC Handelsblad and National Geographic. Newsha is particularly known for focusing on women’s Issues. Her current works encompasses both documentary and art photography.

For the series Listen, Newsha Tavakolian photographed six female professional singers in Iran, who, following the Iranian revolution of 1979, are not allowed to sing solo, perform in public or record CD’s. For the series, Tavakolian also produced mock CD covers and filmed videos of the performers singing heartfelt ballads, only to remove the vocal tracks leaving the women voiceless through an emotional performance. The images and video installation discuss the barriers dividing her culture and how women’s freedoms and forms of expression are suppressed.

EXHIBITIONS
Look,Aaran gallery, Tehran, Iran 2012
Hajj, Journey of a life time, British Museum, London, United Kingdom 2012
Listen, ILEX Exhibition Space, Rome, Italy 2012
Listen, Margins at 7th Photo Biennial, Poznan, Poland 2011
Listen, Snail Fever, Video and Pictures, group show, The Third Line gallery, Dubai 2011
Listen, La Caja Blanca Gallery, Palma de Majorca, Spain 2011
Listen, The Empty Quarter Fine Art gallery in Menasart Fair, Beirut, Lebanon 2011
Good City for Dreamers, Nicolas Silin Gallery, Paris, France 2011
Listen, Jakob Church, Solo Exhibition, Oslo, Norway 2011
My Super Hero, group show, Morono Kiang Gallery, Los Angeles, USA 2011
Listen , Aaran gallery, Tehran, Iran 2011
Jungle, group exhibition, Shirin Gallery, Tehran, Iran 2010
Black or White, group exhibition, Gallery Verso, Turin, Italy 2010
No more bad girls? group exhibition, Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna, Austria 2010
Newsha Tavakolian, ’Thomas Erben Gallery, New York, United States 2010
Art Dubai, United Arab Emirates 2009
Chador and Chanel, Side gallery, Newcastle, United Kingdom 2009
Newsha Tavakolian, Centre Culturel Franco Allemand, Karlsruhe, Germany 2009
Iran Inside Out, group exhibition , Chelsea Art Museum, New York, United States 2009
Made in Tehran, group exhibition, Cicero Galerie Berlin, 6 Frauen-Blicke, Germany 2008

BOOKS
Fifth Pillar, hajj pilgrimage, by Newsha Tavakolian, Gilgamesh 2012
A History of Women’s Photographers’,by Naomi Rosenblum, Abbeville Press, 2010
Iranian photography Now, by Rose Issa, Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2008
Transit Tehran: Young Iran and Its Inspirations, by Malu Halasa and Maziar Bahari, Garnet, 2008

COLLECTION
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
Private

LISTEN SERIES
For the series Listen, Newsha Tavakolian photographed six female professional singers in Iran, who, following the Iranian revolution of 1979, are not allowed to sing solo, perform in public or record CD’s. For the series, Tavakolian also produced mock CD covers and filmed videos of the performers singing heartfelt ballads, only to remove the vocal tracks leaving the women voiceless through an emotional performance. The images and video installation discuss the barriers dividing her culture and how women’s freedoms and forms of expression are suppressed.

Imaging a dream
Eyes closed, mouths open, as if in a dream. Standing facing us with their backs to the darkness, they sing, soundless; they have been standing here, singing for themselves for a long time, imagining us, hearing.
Standing, facing days of tedium, facing a world that has adorned them with a false crown. Standing, waiting.