Artist: Malekeh Nayiny (Iran, born 1955)
Printer: Janvier Laboratoire Photographique Digital
Historical period(s)
1999 (printed 2016)
Chromogenic print on paper
H x W (small images): 21 × 30 cm (8 1/4 × 11 13/16 in) H x W (central image): 120 × 85 cm (47 1/4 × 33 7/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase -- Jahangir and Eleanor Amuzegar Endowment for Contemporary Iranian Art
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


father, Iran, mother, portrait
Provenance research underway.

Studying abroad during the 1970s and unable to return home to Iran, artist Malekeh Nayiny frequently turned to old family photographs to travel through time and reconnect with the past. Much of her work centers on photography's malleability and its powerful role in evoking a long lost world.

Upon her mother's death in 1993, Nayiny returned home to Iran for the first time in nearly twenty years. While packing her parents' belongings, she found old passports, objects, and her father's cabinet of curiosities. For Observations, she scanned the passports and photographed the various objects. Returning again in 1995 for her father's funeral, she took additional photographs of the mementos, including her father's cherished stethoscope, and later arranged them with the passport photos. Collectively, the collages constitute extended portraits of her parents and trace her key memories of their lives over the years.

Collection Area(s)
Contemporary Art
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.