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Haleh Anvari's photographs and video art: Chador (Veil) finds a different meaning

By Syma Sayyah, Tehran

Once in a while one gets an invitation card to a new place which is so easy to find as they have given the good direction. But once in a blue moon they even give you the map of how to get there. This was the case when I received the invitation to Haleh Anvari's photographs and video art at Etemad gallery. We found the place easily and were greeted by Shahriyar, Haleh's wonderful husband and Kasra her son. The lady of the evening with her beautiful warm smile joined us soon.

Haleh was wearing a wonderful white cotton lace with a great red bag hanging loose on her side and lovely soft scarf to cover her head. The place was buzzing with people; it seemed to me that nearly half of Tehran's English speaking community was present! From older and young photographers, to journalists, Iranians as well as international media, friends and cultural tourists, those who had supported, encouraged and helped her to make this exhibition of most interesting pictures come true were present.

Haleh Anvari, the artist

The show was titled Chador-Nama, a fabricated word comprising the visual and emotional elements of the two actual and existing Persian words: Chador which is the Iranian full hejab made of half circle of fabric covering the wearer from head to toe; and Nama which means fašade or vision.

There were samples of the colorful fabrics that Iranian women across the country might choose for their chador as well as several chadors which many decided to try on (including some male visitors). What was so eye catching was the fact that in the past few years when one hears the word chador one immediately thinks of something thick and black, which is not typical and is only worn by women of a more orthodox religious background. Here we realized that the chador, although it may cover women from head to toe, can be jolly bright and interesting.

Men trying on the chadors

The spirit of the exhibition was indeed great and there was such a wonderful buzz all over this rather large yet cozy gallery. There were signs of a lot of laughter and joy. The picture on the invitation cards was blown up to a very large size and was definitely one of her best (if not the best).

Friends who helped along

The exhibition was dedicated to "my Chador wearing women of my childhood and all Iranian women with or without Chador." On the same note Haleh had expressed her endless thanks to all the women who with their presence had given sound and movement to these colors!

Nusha the hard working, brave and young photojournalist

Fabric samples

... Payvand News - 6/6/05 ... --

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