Kaarnamaa’s Oral History and
Archives of Iranian Art
Kaarnamaa’s Oral History and Archives of Iranian Art (Goftaar) is a platform on which we generate, preserve, and make available primary sources about the history of Iranian art. On this website, we publish the audio recordings and related archival materials of a wide range of multi-media documents which now include nearly 150 artist talks, in-depth research interviews, scholarly lectures and panels, and other creative formats. Much of this repository is now available online as audio recordings for both researchers and a wider audience to listen and gain first-hand knowledge about the history of art in Iran. This archive will be constantly updated with the contribution of our editors who are working simultaneously from Tehran, Amsterdam, London, New York, and many other cities across the globe.
Kaarnamaa continues to conduct research interviews and present its programs as public events and will remain committed to providing the Iranian artists, critics, and scholars with a platform on which they can present their ideas on art and put them in direct contact with their peers. Since 2012, we have benefited from the contribution of many artists, writers, and scholars at Kaarnamaa, including but not limited to: Fereydoun Ave, Ariasp Dadbeh, Behrouz Darash, Kamran Diba, Laylia Diba, Bobak Etminani, Raana Farnoud, Lili Golestan, Shahla Hosseini, Mehdi Hosseini, Peyman Hooshmandzadeh, Mohammd-Reza Jodat, Alireza Jodey, Farideh Lashai, Javad Mojabi, Saed Meshki, Mehran Mohajer, Nosratolah Moslemian, Mandana Moghdam, Masumeh Mozafari, Shirin Neshat, Nicky Nodjoumi, Ruyin Pakbaz, Raha Raisnia, Shirana Shahbazi, Ghobad Shiva, Farzaneh Taheri, Sadeq Tirafkan, Hosein Valamanesh, Hrag Vartanian, Mohsen Vaziri-Moghaddam, Hosein-Ali Zabehi, Tirdad Zolghadr.
During the process of working on these materials, we were startled by the number of people who said it was the first time they got the chance of sharing their works and experiences with an audience. Recording the voice of underrepresented groups in Iranian art, especially women and minority artists, is a key objective of Kaarnamaa’s Oral History project. We are determined to expand this mosaic and go beyond temporary advocacy platforms which focus on one aspect of the complex texture of the Iranian new art.
Currently, Kaarnamaa might be the only platform that can connect the founders of an alternative space in the 1940s to a younger generation of artists and curators who are trying to find their own foothold in the precarious Tehran of the twenty-first century; or, create a more accurate image of the diasporic nature of Iranian contemporary art by putting artists and critics from inside and outside of the country in close dialog with each other. Because of this critical interest in all aspects of an undocumented experience, Kaarnamaa has remained unbiased and inclusive. We have been equally interested in the anecdotes of a folk artist and the theory-laden interpretations of a conceptual artist.
Kaarnamaa's Oral History and Archives of Iranian Art (Goftaar) is founded by Æli Reza Sahaf Zadeh in 2012. Milad Rostami has been directing the ongoing program since 2014, and Hosein Eyalati has managed and processed the Oral History project as presented here. Nazanin Noroozi has consulted with us to develop the main concept and structure of the project. Goftaar has been benefited from the talent, creativity, and significant contribution of Kaarnamaa's editorial board, especially Raazieh Pourfazli (archives and design), Sam Mohtasham (reports), and Sara Sarafrazfard (design and photography); as well as many other collaborators who will be credited in the related section.
This is a threshold moment in Kaarnamaa’s development, and we look forward to taking the next steps in this ongoing project. Thanks to the support of Charsoo Institute of Art and Culture, and Iran Heritage Foundation, we have managed to lift the archives off the ground, yet the continuous institutional support of people who have a vested interest in promoting the thriving aspects Iranian culture, will be vital in carrying forward the project. We hope, Kaarnamaa’s tenacity in continuing the project in the past seven years, would be a proof for our persistence in the future.