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Although it's a mourning process, Ashura-Tasua is also a platform for young Iranians to socialize in the public. (Kiana Hayeri/Kiana Hayeri)
Although it's a mourning process, Ashura-Tasua is also a platform for young Iranians to socialize in the public. (Kiana Hayeri/Kiana Hayeri)

Your Veil is a Battleground

From an Iranian-Canadian photographer, images of young women in a theocracy Add to ...

The narratives emerging from Iran have everything to do with political power at the highest echelons.

Over the weekend, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his hard-line followers dominated the country’s parliamentary elections – raising the spectre of an even more theocratic government.

Then, in an effort to quell the sabre-rattling by the international community over Iran’s potential nuclear threat, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad agreed to allow Western inspectors into a military site suspected of being used to develop nuclear weapons.

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But even as Iran dominates the international news agenda, the lives of ordinary Iranians remain shrouded. In an effort to change that, Iranian-Canadian photographer Kiana Hayeri travelled to Tehran in 2010, returning with a collection of photographs that offer a glimpse into the Iran of her peers. Born in Iran in 1988, Ms. Hayeri moved to Canada in 2005.

The photos in Your Veil is a Battleground, to be featured at the I.M.A. Gallery in Toronto from March 13 through 31, depict young Iranian women living their lives under a regime that values – and constantly seeks to enforce – conformity in dress and behaviour.

“The veil that I’m mentioning is both the literal veil, the hijab, and the veil they have between their private life and their public life,” says Ms. Hayeri. “They’re always fighting to keep them separate.”

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