Gohar was born in 1980 and grew up in Ahvaz, Iran, a city which was greatly impacted by the Iran-Iraq war. She graduated from the Fine Art University of Tehran and her subsequent work has been showcased in exhibitions worldwide. Gohar’s wartime childhood memories have influenced her early work in “Today’s Life and War” (2008), a series which uses surrealism to capture how the lives of ordinary citizens have changed due to conflict. One image captures an emotionless wedding-day couple who wait patiently in a car situated in a warzone. Despite being staged, the backdrop portrays a grim reality of the daily bombings that many Iranians endured. The series represents the unwavering willpower of people to go about their lives, despite the war seeping into all facets of life.
More recently, in series such as “Home” (2017), Gohar uses the power of nature. “Home” explores how nature conquers our surroundings and uses staged botanical symbolism to evoke feelings of power and belonging. Gohar staged photographs in actual abandoned buildings tenants had fled due to socio-political factors. Here, weeds adorn a derelict staircase; nature remains amongst the ruins regardless of human absence, and this works to “challenge the idea of whether home is a physical or psychological place”. “Home” has also opened up conversations on migration and refugees.
Gohar’s photography involves poignant social themes such as the effects of war and human migration, whilst exploring our interaction with the natural world. It sheds light on social issues and gives a voice of resilience to a collective generational war experience.
By Aliyah Aslam