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Iranian Artists Express Concern Over Disappearing Lake

By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL

Many Iranians are concerned about the deteriorating state of Lake Orumieh (Urmia), which due to drought and mismanagement is dying and turning into a saltwater lake.

Lake Oroumieh artwork by Hamed Amirlou
Lake Oroumieh artwork by Hamed Amirlou

As reported last week, local residents have held protests in recent weeks in the cities of Orumieh and Tabriz over what they describe as the government's lack of action.

Artists have also joined the protests -- not by demonstrating in the streets, but through their art.

Lake Oroumieh artwork by Roghieh Rashidi
Lake Oroumieh artwork by Roghieh Rashidi

See here for the work of Iranian graphic designers who are concerned about the state of the country's biggest lake.

"Are you sure you want to remove Lake Orumieh and remove its content to the recycle bin?" asks this artwork.

Lake Oroumieh artwork by Mahmoud Imani
Lake Oroumieh artwork by Mahmoud Imani

And this one suggests that Lake Orumieh must be kept alive for future generations.

The website, which has posted the artworks, calls on other artists to send their work to be published as part of the online art protest.

Lake Urmia (Orumieh) is a salt lake in northwestern Iran near Turkey. The lake is between the provinces of East Azarbaijan and West Azarbaijan, west of the southern portion of the similarly shaped Caspian Sea. It is the largest lake inside Iran, and the third salt water lake on earth, with a surface area of approximately 5,200 km square (2,000 mile square).

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Copyright (c) 2011 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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