Tehran Graffiti Memorial
Masoumeh Mirhoseini

2014 June

Tehran’s prevalent graffiti differs from its Western counterpart. With its vast array of shapes and colors, this art signifies the epitome of urbanization and popular culture where the artist, consciously associating with the masses in megacities, creates his anonymous work of art.
Tehran’s graffiti art does not have diverse shapes and colors or lengthy words and lines. It is a silent protest with tools as simple as a plain marker concealed in an activist’s pocket. Not an artist but an activist, who after a long stride, takes out his marker and briefly inscribes a word or two, in order to engrave his protest; on private doors or kiosks and postboxes linked to the ambiguous implication of Beit-ul-mal. A protest that not long ago echoed in roaring shouts, but later, took the form of tiny monochromatic symbols, inscribed on private or public properties.
A little while later, done by the hands of another “activist” who leisurely took the same distance in broad daylight holding a much larger tool in his hands instead of in his pockets, these symbols are wiped out or scrawled over by the raucous mist storming out of a color spray, or sometimes deformed to resemble an animal or other familiar objects.

These are Tehran’s graffiti, inscribed on an obscure coordinates. Each diagram is suggestive of much precision. Assigning the subject’s coordinates in relation to the axes which are the subject’s qualitative analysis criteria. Though, there are no criteria in this checkered stage that is affected by time, ordinariness and oblivion. There are only squares, each representing a unit, a unit of place: a house, an apartment, a fence, a restriction; or maybe a unit of time: hours, days, years, one year, two year, three year and … without any affair.
In the following years, most of these doors were colored over. The remaining few figures on postboxes or telephone kiosks are probably eradicated by now during the New Year cleaning plans held by the municipality. Therefore, today these pictures act more like memorial stones: Welcome to Tehran's contemporary (1388-92 SH) graffiti memorial event.
Jaleh Nesari

Translator : Payam Ghanipour