May god be with you my daughter

In light of economic crisis and ongoing political oppression, the current wave of immigration out of Iran is now greater than at any point in history. There are no official numbers, but many Iranians have already left or are seeking a way out. Some pursue escape without even considering its consequences.

‘May god be with you my daughter…’ is the story of my own migration through the lives of other Iranian teenage girls who have taken the same path that I took years ago.Parmida, Parastou, Melika and Soheila, all immigrated in middle of their teenage years. Parmida and Soheila started this journey along with their parents and families, Parastou and Melika moved away on their own. Facing the battle of fitting into the new culture of their adopted home, this story captures the transformation and liberation of these girls at the age of 17. With the adult personality shaping up, an insecurity and self-consciousness now replaces the carefree world that the girls had lived in so far.
This passage from girlhood into adulthood, with all the complications it entails, takes place within a new culture and environment. The girls on the edge between two worlds try to come to terms with this transitional time in their lives and adjust to the people they are becoming. (Iran, Australia, Canada and United States – 2010 to 2012)

—Kiana Hayeri

Your Veil is a Battleground

Your Veil is a Battleground is a continuation of Beyond The Veil project. Inspired by the title of Barbara Kruger’s controversial piece, “Your body is a battleground,” this series of diptych portraits explore different ways that young Iranian women choose to wear Hijab.
Even though Hijab is enforced on women in Islamic Republic of Iran and is mandatory to wear in public, these young women implement it as a fashion element, accompanying it with distinctive make-ups and colorful headscarves. Many young women take advantage of this to make a statement with their look, stand out of the crowd and empower themselves. One may even argue that beside from the Hijab, the make up itself, is a form of veil as well.
The image that one represents from self is important in Iranian culture. These brave young women have shown tremendous strength and confidence by putting themselves in front of my camera, allowing me to photograph them not only without the veil, but also bare of make up. (2011-12)

—Kiana Hayeri


Beyond the Veil

With more than seventy-five percent of the population under the age of thirty-five, Iran remains one of the youngest, and most Western-seeking countries in the Middle East, yet women are still forced to wear the hijab in public spaces. As many young Iranians try to gain more freedom in the way they dress or interact with the opposite sex, they can face fines, imprisonment and potential torture. Many challenge and take risks to put on a bit more makeup, wear more colorful clothing, reveal bare arms, push their headscarves farther back or do things behind the closed doors that are banned or counter-cultural.
Embodying a personality and determination of this generation, Beyond the Veil captures, in subtle and quiet ways, a window into this disobedience both behind closed doors and on the streets of Tehran. This project not only explores the ‘veil’ in its literal sense of the word, the Hijab, but also as the curtain that delicately separates public and private lives of Iranians.
In times when politicians speak of isolation and aggression, this project offers the Western audience a rare and unique into the lives of ordinary people living in Iran today. (2010/2013)

—Kiana Hayeri