Ali Mobasser

The Pieces of My Grandfather's Broken Heart | 2018

In 1979, following The Islamic Revolution of Iran, Lt General Mohsen Mobasser, former Head of The National Police and Deputy Prime Minister of Iran went into hiding to avoid execution. His wife Irandokht lay in a hospital bed dying of cancer. He paid her secret nightly visits until armed guerillas were seen waiting for him outside the hospital. After many weeks in various safe houses, The General finally crossed the mountainous Iranian-Turkish border on foot and from there he sought asylum in The United Kingdom.

Irandokht died a day after hearing of her husband’s safe arrival in London where The General and his two children lived out their lives in exile. He passed away in 1996 leaving his grandson Ali, his prized Rolleiflex camera and a black and white photograph of his heart taken during an open-heart surgery in 1974.

After his own father passed away in 2016, Ali discovered a box of damaged negatives while clearing out his family home. Contact prints revealed photos dating from 1959 to 1974. The photographer was none other than The General, a man whose zest for life and love of photography was clearly visible in the intimate family moments he had captured on the Rolleiflex. Ali was not yet born, however, seeing his family during those happy times and their obliviousness of the pain that was to come a few years later deeply moved him.

The Pieces of My Grandfather’s Broken Heart is Ali’s homage to his family’s history.

- Simindokht Dehghani

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1) Contact Sheets | 1959 - 1974
2) Texas Heart Institute Newsletter | 1974
3) The Pieces of My Grandfather's Broken Heart | 2018

Installation View | Arles, 2018