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Anahita Razmi

Anahita Razmi

Residence Period: 2017.11.01-2017.12.22

MAJ Exhibition: Project Outcome

[Performance: GOZAIMAMNOON - Traditional Iranian-Japanese Cuisine]

Anahita Razmi and Mariko Kuwahara will be serving traditional Iranian-Japanese food,
a cuisine that could have been invented in Japan, but unfortunately was not.

The food served is created out of a very particular immigration history:
The number of Iranians in Japan began to increase significantly in the late-1980s and early 1990s. Iran, by that time, had suffered significantly from the economic consequences of the 1979 revolution and the long years of the Iran-Iraq war. A large number of Iranian youth, mostly male and unemployed, left Iran for Japan hoping to find high-paying jobs at the outset - and for the duration - of the bubble economy; they were able to enter and exit Japan freely thanks to a mutual visa exemption agreement between Japan and Iran, launched in 1974. However, in 1992, prompted by worsening economic conditions, Japan terminated this visa-free agreement with Iran, and began serious efforts to deport illegal over-stayers. The total size of the Iranian population would shrink dramatically over the following decade and the stereotype of the Iranian immigrant became linked with illegal immigration, drug dealing, and smuggling. The number of new migrants remained significantly smaller compared to the number of deportations that occurred after 1992. Nowadays it is almost non-existing.

What culinary possibilities were lost due to this? What delicious food appropriations did Japanese people, Iranian people, Iranian-Japanese people, Iranian-German-Japanese-Dutch people and the rest of the world miss out on? Can we catch up on the losses now? Can we re-write Japanese immigration policies in an open draft cookbook?
We are trying to think about these questions with our taste buds and warmly invite you to join.

[Event Info]

Artist Profile

2015 Werkstattpreis, Erich Hauser Foundation
2015 Goethe-Institute Villa Kamogawa Residency, Kyoto
2011 The Emdash Award, Frieze Foundation, London

Base of activity: Berlin, Germany

Appropriation, Translation, Re-Enactment: The works of Anahita Razmi (, Berlin-based artist with Iranian background, revolve around cultural transfers and translocations. Employing objects with a national and cultural significance or citing the work of high-profile artists, artistic projects are following the conditions of import/export and trade, using and mis-using their parameters, trying to enable shifted perspectives on common global images and trade logics.
How do identities and bodies transform from one place to the other? What does 'branding' mean within this? Working mainly with video, installation, new media and performance, Razmi's work is reconsidering visual memory, stereotypes, political conditions and standards between Orient and Occident. Iran, with its current political and social conditions and relations, remains an open, ambivalent point of reference.

Open Call Selection

Comment from Selectors:

I am deeply interested in Anahita Razmi's research focused on Iranian culture in Japan. There were many Iranian immigrants living in Japan until 1992, when the mutual visa exemption agreement between Iran was officially repealed. The problems underlying Middle-Eastern relations continue to intensify today, yet within Japan this reality is not being fully realized. While bearing this significance, I am expectant that Anahita Razmi's research plans carried out through artist-in-residency programs will serve as a valuable chance to shed light on the Iranian culture still buried within Japan.

−Masato Nakamura (Supervising Director of 3331 Arts Chiyoda)

When screening applicants all aiming to conduct work at artist-in-residencies, Anahita Razmi stood out as my final output. I could capture the sense of her well-versed knowledge of art history, as well as her professional ability to execute works with a high degree of completion. Anahita also holds a sharp perspective on the perception of Iranian culture in Japan. By surveying Iranian culture in multiple locations of Japan, there rises the possibility of revealing each locality's respective image of Iran. Yet overall, I believe the artist could narrow her selection of residencies for a more in-depth project.

−Meruro Washida (Curator, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa)