Iranian-American Artist Explores How Everyday Life Gets Lost Behind the Veil of Politics

“Diaspora Letters” is a deeply thoughtful multimedia art project that explores the struggles and anxieties that ordinary people, who find themselves caught in the middle of the American-Iranian political tension, experience on a daily basis. This beautiful project shows how the simple relationships and everyday habits are affected by the political climate that exacerbates the social life and community of the diaspora. 

The artist behind this project is Beeta Baghoolizadeh. She was born and raised in Los Angeles to Iranian immigrant parents. She studied Iranian Studies and International Development Studies for her BA, and Middle East Studies for her MA, and is currently an Assistant Professor of History and Africana Studies.

Baghoolizadeh’s rich academic experience, thirst for knowledge, and critical thinking have made her project, Diaspora Letters, an apt and sincere portrayal of the situations that Iranians in the US find themselves in.

Baghoolizadeh launched Diaspora Letters on Instagram in September of 2017. She began the project as a response to the growing tensions and anxieties that caused misunderstanding and xenophobia in both countries. In her project, she tries to show the beauty that gets lost behind the veil of politics. Her project is now expanding to include a graphic history book and a documentary film.

Take a look.

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Chadors have such a bad rap in the US, but really they are just cozy half-circle ish pieces of fabric. In Isfahan, you might still catch a glimpse of older women wearing patterned chador in the streets, though most have either switched to black chador or manteaus completely. In Tehran, it would be odd to see colorful chador outside of a shrine setting, like Imamzadeh Saleh in Tajrish. Whereas in Kerman, shaykhi women almost always wear patterned chador, usually pinned under their chins and with one side thrown over their shoulder. Across Iran, more conservative women might wear colorful chador inside the house when guests are around, and especially fancy conservative women might wear painted silk chador instead of your pedestrian cotton chador. But mostly these days you will only see that patterned fabric if someone is praying, because either the more formal black chador or the more trendy manteaus have almost* completely displaced the colorful chador from public spaces in larger urban centers. Some of our grandmas are the last stalwarts in this regard 😍 چادر سر‌ کردن و‌ انواعی چادرهای مختلف همیشه واسه من جالب بوده. آمریکاهی‌ها‌ چادر رو بد می‌بینن، ولی درواقع یه تیکه پارچه تقریبا نیم ‌دایره‌ایه و چیز آنچنان خاصی نیست. شاید تو اصفهان گاهی اوقات ببینین پیرزن‌ها‌ با چادر رنگی آمدن تو‌ کوچه، ولی بیشتر مردم یا با‌ مانتو می‌پوشن یا چادر مشکی سر‌ می‌کنن. تو‌ تهران یکم عجیبه خانمی‌‌ رو با چادر نماز بیرون ببینین مگر اینکه جای مثل امامزاده صالح تو تجریش باشه. تو‌ کرمان خانم‌های شیخی به سبک ‌خودشون «چادر شیخی» سر می‌کنن. کلا تو‌ ایران خانم‌هایی که دوست دارن پوشش بیشتری داشته باشن تو خونه جلو مهمون چادر رنگی سر می‌کنن و اگه خیلی بخواهن شیک باشن شاید چادر زنگی ابریشمی سر کنن. ولی این روز‌ها بیشتر فقط اگه‌ یکی در حال نماز خواندن باشه چادر رنگی‌‌ می‌بینین، چون دیگه مانتو و یا چادر سیاه رایچ شده. شاید بعضی مادربزرگ‌ها آخرین کسانی باشن که بلا‌استثنا چادر رنگی‌ سر کنن 😍 #ایران #iran #shia #chador #چادر

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