Dastan Gallery

3 February - 1 March

Dastan Gallery, from Tehran, Iran, presented the first in a new series of exhibitions, called 'Soft Edge of the Blade', at No.9 Cork Street in February 2022. This was a 'Dastan Outside' event, gathering a long list of contemporary Iranian artists.

The focus of this project was on how Iranian artists today deal, in their work, with different aspects of violence in its various 'soft', symbolic, hidden or underlying guises, common to the "Middle East". The outlook is not limited to the more obviously visible 'state' violence of war or political oppression. The intended scope is broader and more subtle, extending to numerous more insidious forms of ‘soft’ violence affecting Iranians today: migration and diaspora, identity and gender, patriarchy and family, the impact of the complexities of history on the day-to-day life of Iranians at home and/or abroad, the use of language - e.g. on social media - to disparage or oppress.

'Soft Edge of the Blade' allowed UK audiences to continue exploring Iran’s contemporary scene, with a focus on powerful themes of relevance and interest to global audiences.


Farrokh Mahdavi, Untitled, 2021. Acrylic on canvas, 162 x 142 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Dastan Gallery, Tehran


Ali Akbar Sadeghi, AS- dream 1, 2019. Acrylic on canvas, 200 x 137 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Dastan Gallery, Tehran


Homa Delvaray, ˝Khâsh˝, 2021. Fabric collage on board, wooden pulleys and steel bar, 260 x 230 x 25 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Dastan Gallery, Tehran
Mamali Shafahi, Heirloom Velvet, 2021. Flocked epoxy on board, 121 x 84 x 10 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Dastan Gallery, Tehran