Iranian artist and humanitarian activist Shokoufeh Malekkiani gravitated towards photography for its unique power as a documentary tool, capturing things we so often choose to ignore. In her most recent work she has also begun to push her imagery in a more stylized, less figurative direction, taking some of her inspiration from Persian calligraphy. A single silhouette whose blurred form suggests a dancer or runner might occupy one of her windswept images, while the sense of movement is accentuated by clusters and entire paragraphs of Persian characters, some legible while others are distorted into swirls of red or white.
For all this movement, though, Malekkiani’s images strike a superb balance. Her compositions incorporate text, human figures and geometric forms in a manner that evokes abstract expressionist painting, while her use of light and focus emphasizes the sophistication of the photographic image. Her choice of palette — always a combination of red, green and white — reinforces her unwavering dedication to helping the world’s most disenfranchised. It also grounds her ethereal, dreamlike visions in a very tangible and powerful reality.