Listen: Giving Voice to Iranian Women • Newsha Tavakolian • Magnum Photos

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Arts & Culture

Listen: Giving Voice to Iranian Women

Through her interpretive series of portraits, Newsha Tavakolian highlights the cultural restrictions on female singers in Iran

Newsha Tavakolian

Newsha Tavakolian | Listen Tehran, Iran. 2011. © Newsha Tavakolian | Magnum Photos
Newsha Tavakolian | Listen Imaginary CD cover for Mahsa. Tehran, Iran. 2011. © Newsha Tavakolian | Magnum Photos
Newsha Tavakolian | Listen Imaginary CD cover for Sayeh. Tehran, Iran. 2011. © Newsha Tavakolian | Magnum Photos
Newsha Tavakolian | Listen Imaginary CD cover for Ghazal. Tehran, Iran. 2011. © Newsha Tavakolian | Magnum Photos
Newsha Tavakolian | Listen Tehran, Iran. 2010. © Newsha Tavakolian | Magnum Photos
Newsha Tavakolian | Listen Tehran, Iran. 2010. © Newsha Tavakolian | Magnum Photos
Newsha Tavakolian | Listen Tehran, Iran. 2010. © Newsha Tavakolian | Magnum Photos
Newsha Tavakolian | Listen Tehran, Iran. 2010. © Newsha Tavakolian | Magnum Photos
Newsha Tavakolian | Listen Tehran, Iran. 2010. © Newsha Tavakolian | Magnum Photos
Newsha Tavakolian | Listen Imaginary CD cover for Sahar in Caspian Sea. Mahmudabad, Iran. 2011. © Newsha Tavakolian | Magnum Photos

"For me a woman’s voice represents a power that if you silence it, imbalances society, and makes everything deform. The project Listen echoes the voices of these silenced women. I let Iranian women singers perform through my camera while the world has never heard them."

- Newsha Tavakolian

The project Listen focuses on women singers who are not allowed to perform solo or produce their own CDs due to Islamic regulations in effect since the 1979 revolution. The photos are taken of the professional women singers performing in their mind in front of a large audience where in reality this was taking place in a small private studio in downtown Tehran. Subsequently, in my mind I made a dream cover CD for each of the women which was my own interpretation of the society I live in and experience, however, the CD cases will for now remain empty.