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abdollahian khameneh

aka. Monica, Photography

This project explores the dark topic of oppression and prejudice against minority groups and women in Iran. I began working on this as a way to honour my people, but the theme of the work shifted into something much more urgent with the death of Mahsa Amini and the start of the 'Women, Life, Freedom' movement.I took up the task of expressing the trauma found in real life events through studio portraiture, each image a documentation of a specific attack. The use of symbolic imagery allowed me to communicate hope in my work, while still portraying more graphic subject matter.My love of history and the humanities aided me in my desire to create something meaningful for my thesis, and although it has been a very hard task, and I've sometimes felt like stopping so that I wouldn't have to feel so much sadness and grief, I feel like this project is my love letter to my people, and my own form ofprotest.For women, life and freedom.”

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Melikaabdollahian khameneh
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Monica Abdollahian is a fashion and editorial photographer whose work explores graphic themes of injustice in the middle east with use of prosthetic wounds, dramatic lighting and symbolic imagery. Her recent work focuses on the ‘Women, Life, Freedom’ movement in Iran, shedding light on the brutality faced by her people. Her work is manifested through and ethnological and feminist lens, with the intent to open dialogue around the different forms of feminism in different cultural and theological spheres.Monica is born and raised in Toronto, Canada, and spent most of her time involved in the Persian community because of her families Iranian Businesses. She studied architecture for 2 years before deciding to quit to pursue Photography, having taken more interest in the historical studies of architecture than its practice. This led her into the development of her history-based works, at OCADu. She began reimagining ancient Persia, by putting together sets, styling and finding historical objects to incorporate into her images. After two years, her work took a different direction to acknowledge a more urgent theme in her country’s history, that being the current revolution. Her most recent work is titled ‘Unveiled’, and it is a studio-based portrait series on the attacks on Iranians during the 2022-2023 timeline of the freedom movement.
OCAD U - Faculty of Art
Major In progress, 2023
Toronto Metropolitan University
Architectural Science
Major Transferred, 2018

Fashion and Editorial Photography Portrait Photography