Divided into two parts set in Iran and the US respectively, Dare the Sea is a new collection of stories from Iranian-American writer Ali Hosseini. The stories, some stories of which had previously appeared in Guernica, Antioch Review and Story Quarterly, explore Iran’s landscape, culture and how cataclysmic, socio-political changes have shaped the identity and sense of belonging amongst Iranians living in Iran and the United States.
The twenty-three women photographers featured in Anahita Ghabaian Etehadieh’s Breathing Space: Iranian Women Photographers shed light on the state of contemporary photography from Iran. Etehadieh is the founder of Silk Road Gallery, Iran’s first gallery devoted exclusively to photography. Many of the photographers featured in this book have previously exhibited their works at her gallery in Tehran.
“Replete with symbolism,” writes Navina Najat Haider in Jali: Lattice of Divine Light in Mughal Architecture, “the Indian jali evolved to become both a technical and an aesthetic marvel in Mughal-period buildings, and eventually an international ‘Islamicate’ style of the modern age.”
The Idle Stance of the Tippler Pigeon opens with Nadia, an office worker married to unemployed and intoxicated Mubashir. Her menial office job just about pays the rent for a small shack in Gulberg, Lahore. During the day, she is at the mercy of her lecherous boss.
“China’s Hidden Century” at London’s British Museum features 300 exhibits that are drawn from a tumultuous period that led to the end of the Qing Dynasty. At its peak, the dynasty ruled over one-third of the entire world’s population.
Iran is certainly enjoying a moment through a series of international exhibitions. In 2021, the V&A Museum had “Epic Iran” whose tickets sold out upon release. In Los Angeles, the Getty Villa had “Persia: Ancient Iran and the Classical World”. In 2023, the British Museum has now added, “Luxury and Power: Persia to Greece”.
The ancient Greeks wrote extensively about their distaste for the opulence of the Persians of the Achemenid empire. However, archaeological evidence suggests that the Athenians were not themselves immune from luxury and even incorporated modes of Eastern opulence within their own cultural repertoire.