Vent Your Frustration: Scream Into Pots at Iran Art Gallery

Babak Golkar’s Scream Pots at his exhibition at Ab-Anbar gallery in Tehran. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Iranians have an unique opportunity for stress relief this week, thanks to a Tehran gallery’s exhibition of pots that are designed to be screamed into. The work of Vancouver-based artist Babak GolkarReuters reports the pots are made from locally-sourced clay and come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including that of traditional water jars.

The exhibition marks the first time that Golkar has exhibited in his home country of Iran. “I was physically gone for a long time but mentally never left. To come back and engage actively and not as a passive tourist was a true privilege,” he admitted to Reuters via e-mail.

The show is taking place at the Sazmanab Center for Contemporary Art, a privately-funded gallery founded in 2009 by artist and curator Sohrab Kashani as a venue for experimental and performance-based art in a country that has yet to fully embrace less traditional work. “Iran’s art scene, I felt, is at a crossroad where engaged and critical artists seem to be frustrated with its art market and are wanting to go beyond that,” Golkar said.

The screaming pots are certainly a step in that direction. “We want to reach people that aren’t just in the art scene,” Kashani told Reuters. So far, it would seem Iranian of all stripes are embracing the current exhibition, welcoming the chance for a little bit of catharsis.

For Golkar, the pots “reflect many conditions that we are faced with, often unexplained with logic.” While some pots deaden the sound of the screams, others amplify it. “When logic fails to explain, it becomes natural to scream,” he added.

Babak Golkar’s “Of Labor, Of Dirt” is on view at Tehran’s Sazmanab through Friday, November 14.


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