What Comes Afterwards, When Everything Has Been Said: Gaffa Gallery

Ali Tahayori

10 - 21 Mar 2022

Gaffa Gallery, SYDNEY NSW

‘By shifting between still and moving image, he seeks to explore a new mode of artistic expression that is neither representational nor abstract. His primary field of research explores the effect of psychological trauma on human experience. He is interested in a medium that communicates directly upon the viewer’s nervous system and avoids the detour of conveying a story.’

What Comes Afterwards… explores the experience and trauma of being queer in a heteronormative culture. It appropriates the traditional Zār ceremony practised among certain communities in the southern regions of Iran.
Among locals, there is a belief that wind could possess a person’s identity and cause ailment and disease. The Zār ceremony involves music, movement, and is usually led by an elder who communicates with the wind to negotiate its passage. Although the exact origin of this ritual is unknown, the existence of similar practices in many African countries suggests that the tradition may have been brought to Iran from Africa through the Arab slave trade.
This installation is inspired by the recent murder and beheading of a young Iranian gay man by his family members in a so-called “honour killing” in the southern region of Iran, where the Zār ceremony is still being practised. The installation renders the resistance and resilience of the LGBTQIA+ communities and questions a power system that weaponises shame against diverse identities.
What Comes Afterwards… reflects the complexity and plurality of the human psyche and challenges the notion that our personality is a singular coherent entity. Grounded in the body, this performance of mourning oscillates between pain and desire, revealing and concealment, secrecy and disclosure, a longing for intimacy and a plea for speaking out and exposure.
The fight for equality is far from over. When this work was being finalised for this exhibition, our politicians in Canberra were fighting to pass a law that would have catastrophic effects on the survival, safety and mental health of our vulnerable kids who struggle to identify with the heteronormative social roles we have defined for them.