Newsletter of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs | Harvard University | Vol. 21 Num. 1 | Winter 2007
- “Walls of Martyrdom”: Tehran's Propaganda Murals
- By Fotini Christia
- Imam Khomeini towering over the Dome of the Rock. Photo: Fotini Christia.
- Largely closed to U.S. visitors for almost three decades, Tehran is the cryptic capital of an increasingly powerful and defiant Iran. Vast and densely populated, this Middle Eastern megalopolis makes for a rich urban topography, its mystique amplified by a shroud of chronic smog. Though landscape stimulants competing for the visitor's attention abound, none are more gripping than the city's propaganda murals. As dominant fixtures of Tehran's visual space, these state-sponsored murals are painted by artists close to the regime. Cast across the city's prominent avenues, on both private and public buildings, the murals are of a distinctive artistic style. Their sheer number and size, along with their powerful iconography and aesthetics, set me on a quest to systematically document them. My exhibit “Walls of Martyrdom”: Tehran's Propaganda Murals—a selection of over 130 images of Tehran's murals taken over the summer of 2006 during my affiliation with the University of Tehran—draws from the findings of this documentary exercise…
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