Article Works Projects
animistic religions, Christianity, Islam
Visual Arts (photography)
Middle East, Europe, Western, Africa, Western
Iran (Islamic Republic of), France, Senegal
created on:
February 11, 2004
last changed on:
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Statement of the artist for the «Postcard Project» of the House of World Cultures "Towards a Clash of Religions ? September 11, 2001, Kyzyl, Republic of Tuva in Siberia. Glued to the television set, as I imagine millions doing the same throughout the world, I am fascinated by what is happening in New York city… 13 time zones away. The twin towers of the World Trade Centre collapse, live, after being hit by two commercial airlines.Who but Islamists could plan, organise and carry out such a daring and sophisticated terrorist action ? September 20, 2002, Ground Zero, New York City. A year later, a deep canyon has replaced the twin towers. At the fringe, I discover two metal beams salvaged from the rubble and welded together into a giant cross. Why was this cross so conspicuously absent in the TV documentaries and photo stories I have seen. This cross speaks loud, responding to the terror inflicted by Islamists. It is as if the workers who erected it want the world to know that it is not only their country which came under attack but also their culture, their religion, and therefore their civilization. Is the religious intolerance of the terrorists feeding another one? My project is about the way religion becomes increasingly important in defining people’s and nations’ identity. Will religion replace political ideologies in the strategic struggles of the future ? How many conflicts which are essentially tribal, nationalist, economic or ideological are increasingly perceived in terms of religion ?" Abbas, 2007 Abbas was born in Iran in 1944. His early works already reflected his interest in photographing the countries in the Middle East and the Southern hemisphere, but it was his documentary record of the Revolution in Iran between 1978-80 that gained him a reputation both in Europe and far beyond. His fascination with portraying religion is another key leitmotif in his photography and one that has led him to produce an extensive study on Islam (1978-94), a series on Christianity (1995-2000), and most recently a study of animistic religions (2000-02). His work is regularly exhibited and has been extensively published. Abbas is a member of the prestigious Magnum group. He lives and works in Paris and Tehran.
Author: Haus der Kulturen der Welt


Selected publications

Published Written
“Iran Diary – 1971-2002” (Autrement, 2002) “Faces of Christianity – A Photographic Journey” (A. Abrams, 2000) Iran – la révolution confisquée (Cletrat, 1980).

Selected exhibitions

Exhibition / Installation
2002: Palazzo Vecchio, Florence; Visa, Perpignan; The Grey Gallery, New York./2001: Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris./2000: The Manege, Moscow./1999: Palace Royal, Brussels. /1994: Centro de la Image, Mexico.


This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the partner institutions.

Postcard Project

(01 March 07 - 31 December 08)