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Assar Art Gallery Oct 2021 Aslon Arfa Book Launch And Photo Exhibition 04

“Aslon Arfa’s photographs of Afghanistan as it looks now offer us, then, the most realistic and most jarring possible contrast to those lovely views of Afghanistan shot so shortly before the land’s 1978 plunge into moral darkness. Thus, Afghan faces recorded before 1978 usually mirrored a sort of wide-eyed innocence, as it were still ignorant of the modern world’s extremes of possible depravity- much like those similar images of naively posing European peasants captured by the camera before 1914. But Aslon Arfa’ here sees and gives us scrawny children, begging woman, mutilated men, smirking pimps of girls or boys sold by their poverty-stricken parents into prostitution and most especially, the dark haunted anguished eyes of ordinary Afghans who have now beheld all the worst that the modern world can inflict – like the terrified gazes of those same conscripted European peasants when photographed in uniform in the trenches of 1915. Afghanistan, however, has now suffered thirty-six years of uninterrupted war.”

From the foreword of the book, written by Professor Michael Barry, Historian of the greater Middle East and the Islamic World – Princeton University

“It is hard to lie with images, so I hope that people would see the work and try to take steps, even tiny ones, to help make changes. Change is possible, only if we are aware of what needs to be changed.”

      Aslon Arfa’, 2019


Sighs & Cries is a book about the challenging life condition of Afghan children, the children who are usually forgotten amidst other news that comes from country and the region. The book has tried to create a realistic image of the life of these children focusing on the violation of their rights and the injustice Afghan boys and girls experience sometimes on a daily basis. Taken over a period of 12 years starting from 2001, the book consists of nine sections each marked by a quote relating to its theme. 

As in many other projects Arfa’ has worked on, Sighs & Cries illustrates stories of sad and vicious cycle some people are trapped in. Narrating such distressing stories in his signature artistic tone, Arfa’ addresses issues affecting Afghan children and expresses his hope for change in this 128-page book published in 2019.


Born in September 1970, Aslon Arfa’ is an independent photojournalist based in Tehran.  Since 2000 he has worked on several projects such as Black Crack in Iran, Women Peshmarga in Northern Iraq, Afghan's life in Northern Afghanistan, and Repatriation of Afghans from Iran and Iran's Martial Arts. His pictures have been published worldwide in several magazines and newspapers such as Newsweek, Time, Paris Match, New York Times, Stern, Der Spiegel, Panaroma, Le Hebdo and Le Figaro. In addition, he was a member of the board of advisors of Punctum Magazine, a magazine show-casing contemporary photography from across Asia.


Black Crack in Iran, a book about drug addicts was published in 2011 by Powerhouse Books in the US.

Arfa’s work has also been exhibited in Iran, France and Italy. 


“عکس¬های اصلان ارفع از افغانستان، در واقعگرایانه¬ترین و آزاردهنده¬ترین شکل ممکن در تضاد با آن تصاویر دوست¬داشتنی از افغانستان¬¬اند که کمی پیش از غوطه¬وری آن کشور در تاریکی اخلاقی سال ۱۹۷۸ گرفته شده بود. به این ترتیب، چهره¬هایی  از مردم افغانستان که تا پیش ازسال ۱۹۷۸ ثبت شده بود، اغلب نوعی معصومیت ساده¬لوحانه¬ را می¬نمایاندند  چون آن زمان هنوز از شدیدترین ابعاد فسادی که دنیای مدرن به همراه دارد بی¬اطلاع بودند. تصاویر آنان همچون تصاویر پیش از سال ۱۹۱۴ اروپا بود که در آن¬ رعایا ساده¬لوحانه ژست گرفته بودند. اما اصلان ارفع در عکس¬هایش کودکان استخوانی، زن¬هایی در حال گدایی، مردانی با نقص عضو، قوادانی پوزخند¬زن که دختران و پسرانی را که توسط والدینی فقیر به روسپی¬گری واداشته¬ شده¬اند، و به¬ویژه چشمان هراسان و حزن¬آلود مردم عادی را که هم¬اکنون در بدترین شرایطی که دنیای مدرن می¬توانست بر آنان تحمیل کند، دیده و ثبت کرده است. نگاهانی شبیه به همان نگاه ترسیده¬ی رعایای اروپایی در سال ۱۹۱۵ هنگامی که با لباس نظامی در سنگر از ایشان عکاسی شده بود. این در حالی است که افغانستان امروز از سی و شش سال جنگ بدون انقطاع رنج برده است.” 

از پیش¬گفتار کتاب، نوشته¬ی پروفسور مایکل بری، مورخ رشته¬ی خاورمیانه¬ی بزرگ و جهان اسلام، دانشگاه پرینستون

“دروغ گفتن با تصویر کار سختی است، پس امیدوارم مردم عکس¬ها را ببینند و تلاش کنند قدمی در مسیر تغییر بردارند، هر چند قدمی کوچک باشد. تغییر ممکن است، اما تنها وقتی که بدانیم چه چیزی نیاز به تغییر دارد.”

اصلان ارفع، ۱۳۹۸

آه و فغان کتابی درباره¬ی شرایط زندگی کودکان افغان است. کودکانی که خبر مربوط به ایشان اغلب در میان اخبار دیگری که از افغانستان و سایر کشور¬های منطقه می¬رسد گم می¬شود. این کتاب با توجه به نقض حقوق دختران و پسران افغان، سعی بر آن دارد تا تصویری واقع¬گرایانه از زندگی آنان ارائه دهد. این کتاب که از سال ۲۰۰۱ طی ۱۲ سال عکاسی شده است شامل نه بخش است که هر یک را نقل قولی مرتبط با موضوع آن بخش همراهی می¬کند. 

کتاب آه و فغان همچون بسیاری دیگر از پروژه¬های اصلان ارفع، داستان¬هایی است از سیکل غم-انگیز و بی¬رحمانه¬¬ای که برخی از افراد در دامش افتاده¬اند. اصلان ارفع در این کتاب ۱۲۸ صفحه¬ای که در سال ۱۳۹۸ منتشر کرده است، با روایت داستان¬هایی تا بدین حد دل¬خراش، با زبان منحصر به فرد هنرمندانه¬¬اش، به مسائلی که بر زندگی کودکان افغان تاثیر می¬گذارد می¬پردازد و بدین ترتیب امیدش را برای تغییر این وضعیت بیان می¬¬کند.

اصلان ارفع، عکاس مطبوعات مستقل متولد ۱۳۴۹ ساکن تهران است.  او از سال ۱۳۷۹ بر پروژه-های مختلفی چون کراک سیاه در ایران، زنان پیشمرگه در شمال عراق، زندگی افغان¬ها در شمال افغانستان، بازگرداندن افغان¬ها از ایران به افغانستان و ورزش باستانی ایران کار کرده است. عکس-های او در سراسر جهان در نشریاتی چون نیوزویک، تایم، پاریس مچ، نیویورک تایمز، استرن، اشپیگل، پانوراما، لبدو و فیگارو چاپ شده¬اند. او همچنین عضو هیئت مشاوران مجله¬ی پانکتوم بوده است. موضوع این مجله، عکاسی معاصر سراسر آسیا است.

کتاب کراک سیاه در ایران درباره¬ی معتادان است که نشر پاورهاوس آن را سال ۱۳۹۰ منتشر کرده است. 

آثار اصلان ارفع در ایران، فرانسه و ایتالیا به نمایش درآمده است.

لینک نمایشگاه

More About Tehran

Overview and HistoryTehran is the capital of Iran and the largest city in the Middle East, with a population of fifteen million people living under the peaks of the Alborz mountain range.Although archaeological evidence places human activity around Tehran back into the years 6000BC, the city was not mentioned in any writings until much later, in the thirteenth century. It's a relatively new city by Iranian standards.But Tehran was a well-known village in the ninth century. It grew rapidly when its neighboring city, Rhages, was destroyed by Mongolian raiders. Many people fled to Tehran.In the seventeenth century Tehran became home to the rulers of the Safavid Dynasty. This is the period when the wall around the city was first constructed. Tehran became the capital of Iran in 1795 and amazingly fast growth followed over the next two hundred years.The recent history of Tehran saw construction of apartment complexes and wide avenues in place of the old Persian gardens, to the detriment of the city's cultural history.The city at present is laid out in two general parts. Northern Tehran is more cosmopolitan and expensive, southern Tehran is cheaper and gets the name "downtown."Getting ThereMehrabad airport is the original one which is currently in the process of being replaced by Imam Khomeini International Airport. The new one is farther away from the city but it now receives all the international traffic, so allow an extra hour to get there or back.TransportationTehran driving can be a wild free-for-all like some South American cities, so get ready for shared taxis, confusing bus routes and a brand new shiny metro system to make it all better. To be fair, there is a great highway system here.The metro has four lines, tickets cost 2000IR, and they have segregated cars. The women-only carriages are the last two at the end, FYI.Taxis come in two flavors, shared and private. Private taxis are more expensive but easier to manage for the visiting traveler. Tehran has a mean rush hour starting at seven AM and lasting until 8PM in its evening version. Solution? Motorcycle taxis! They cut through the traffic and any spare nerves you might have left.People and CultureMore than sixty percent of Tehranis were born outside of the city, making it as ethnically and linguistically diverse as the country itself. Tehran is the most secular and liberal city in Iran and as such it attracts students from all over the country.Things to do, RecommendationsTake the metro to the Tehran Bazaar at the stop "Panzda Gordad". There you can find anything and everything -- shoes, clothes, food, gold, machines and more. Just for the sight of it alone you should take a trip there.If you like being outside, go to Darband and drink tea in a traditional setting. Tehranis love a good picnic and there are plenty of parks to enjoy. Try Mellat park on a friday (fridays are public holidays), or maybe Park Daneshjou, Saaii or Jamshidieh.Remember to go upstairs and have a look around, always always always! The Azadi Tower should fit the bill; it was constructed to commemorate the 2500th anniversary of the Persian Empire.Tehran is also full of museums such as:the Contemporary Art Museumthe Abghine Musuem (glass works)the 19th century Golestan Royal Palace museumthe museum of carpets (!!!)Reza Abbasi Museum of extraordinary miniaturesand most stunning of all,the Crown Jewels Museum which holds the largest pink diamond in the world and many other jaw-dropping jewels.Text by Steve Smith.

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