Saba Alizadeh

Light and Soil (2012)

BredaPhoto is the largest biennial photo exhibition in the Benelux. The 2022 edition featured the exhibition Space to Breathe by guest curator and Magnum photographer Newsha Tavakolian in the Grote Kerk.

About Light and Soil

During the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), the Iranian government turned the images of fallen soldiers and civilians into mass media propaganda. Reproducing them as iconic martyrs, who had died for their country, their portraits were exhibited in public space, circulating on posters, billboards and murals.

With Light and Soil, Saba Alizadeh reclaims this public display of private portraits, by recasting those images of victims into an intimate and domestic context. He does this by projecting the photographs onto the couches and beds of Iranian homes, metaphorically turning home textiles in surfaces of revelation. This is a process that is both performative and transformative: summoning the memory of lost loved ones and restoring the human dimension of the subjects in the safe space of the home.
In shifting the gaze from the public realm back to the private, Alizadeh recovers a human reality, devoid from its propagandist narrative, challenging the public memory of the war.

︎ More info about this work at BredaPhoto