Racism is playing a large part in the day to day conversation. Thanks to the American media who have widely published incidents of racism, the whole world has a subject to enlist them into this global debate. What do we do about intolerance and fear of different skin colour or culture? We of course respect anything that isn't harmful, however a lot of stories depict opposing beliefs and social groups like skin colour as an outside intruder. An us and them dynamic is knitted through our culture, and it will be a lot of work to create new stories that incorporate all who do no harm as us.
Being black in Iran has its own set of difficulties. The closeness to Africa means that black people of all tone have been present in Iran since its early days. It's nothing new to see a black man or woman living in Iran. There still remains a culture of difference, though, as the collective recognise.
"We are part of the tapestry of what it means to be Iranian. If you look closely, you will see us."
You may wonder why making a point of being black will help build inclusive relationships, and you'd be right, it's the message they promote that really matters. Their message is one of enlightenment, it states the hidden obvious and reminds Iranians that black culture has always been there.
One piece on display is a multimedia work called “Can You See Us?”. It's made from snippets of African-Iranian voices. The whole work of the collective project is to entangle personal stories with the written history in order to create new and positive associations. With this inclusive accumulation of culture that's based on actual lives and actual events, the thread will no doubt spread into many other areas.
"We talk about how knowing your roots is a very empowering thing that we sometimes take for granted," Eskandarkhah says, "At times it's a luxury. As a Black person, I know a lot of guys that didn't have that luxury."
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