All About me, nicknamed "crown-giver"
Project info

The main concern in my photography and video installation practice is based on representation of women in Middle east. I have worked extensively on context of women-hood in my country of Iran where I Live and work. I believe there are potential qualities in each individual women, either Iranian women/ Middle Eastern women, to be believed in and to be uniquely presented. My last video project,entitled Miss Iran, was comprises of two channel video, and installation of 12 color C-Type print photographs. These were placed next to a sculptural piece of bronze crowns. The title of project, Miss Iran, ironically refers to the way in which each individual women of my society could be appreciated as A Miss of Iran. Historically, the concept of Miss Iran was an annual competition which beauty pageant targeted at young females aged 18–27 years living in Iran. The first competition series was performed with the name of Spring Girl by Zane Ruz magazine in (1965) and Sima Izadju was selected as the Spring Girl. The last series of this competition was performed in Tehran’s Hilton Hotel in (1978). After the 1978 the competition has not be possible in Iran. In order to make the event possible I have placed my shooting in a dreamy like atmosphere where every thing is possible. My actress are presented as if they are in a middle of nowhere, in an unknown dreamy space. To be Miss Iran or Miss of any other nationality, I believe is an absurd contemporary concern for young girls, where I try to objectify it and renegotiate its context through my practice.

In a dusty decadence, forgotten and rusty crowned people portrait the lacklustre nightmare of a damp house for me. I search for a familiar sign in the strangeness of the faces. They want to get far away. Like these very same old brass crowns, they want to be a remote sign of what they have once been. The houses in Grape Garden Alley, the houses of dust. The aristocratic houses buried in the doll faces, dust covered memories, and suspicious looking.
Miss Beauties run to prove their merits and their unsuccessful effort is to win the lost rank of beauty and vanity. Life becomes a chair, it becomes a stare, it becomes staring at their whirling, and a sneer and a chortle that there is always one chair short for the best ones. There is always someone who fails in occupying the chair, and she falls apart.
In the real world, Miss Beauties appear on the stage to display their best in a predefined framework, in an imposed space, with a beaming smile, with a doll-like face devoid of their inner feelings. Individuality of these girls is castrated and the portrayal of the appearance is the sole element of their attraction.
The way Miss Beauties are chosen seems somehow similar to our childhood game. Whoever sits on the chair faster deserves the loftiest status. Regarding the hidden capabilities of every woman in the society to be a chosen one, and disregarding looks, culture, and even social class, meritorious Iranian girls and women can be witnessed easily in the city’s pavements and squares.

Tahmineh Monzavi