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5 July – 2 August 2024

Shadows of the Past, Dreams of Tomorrow



Hossein Fardinfard (Iran, 1985) is an Amsterdam-based visual storyteller working across photography and videography. His exhibition in What Art Can Do showcases two projects: Blackout (2019) focuses on Abkhazian refugees, through portraits and environmental images; Game Changer (2021) portrays a Georgian rebel generation aiming to break free from Russian dominance. Both projects also represent a dialogue between the artist’s personal story and those he photographed.

Hossein Fardinfard had to leave his motherland Iran years ago due to various constraints. He found himself in Georgia, where he lived for over eight years. There, he began a new chapter, with photography becoming a significant part of this fresh start. As an observer, he captured the lives of Georgian people through his lens, focusing on common pains and struggles that mirrored his own experiences.

His photography in Georgia was about connecting deeply with his subjects. Hossein learned their stories and sensed their emotions through conversations and shared moments. This allowed him to capture not only their images but also their spirits and strength. The portraits and scenes reflect a shared sense of displacement, resilience, and hope.

With Georgia in the global spotlight due to recent protests against increased Russian control, it feels timely for this documentary photographer to share these experiences. This exhibition in What Art Can Do features two of Fardinfard’s projects on the transition that Georgia and its people are experiencing.


Blackout (2019) focuses on the Abkhazian refugees displaced by the 1992 war, which resulted in the separation of Abkhazia from Georgia with Russian support. The war forced many to flee their homes, and Hossein was drawn to this community because, although he is an immigrant and they are refugees, they both left their homelands due to different forms of adversity. Through portraits and environmental pictures, he captured their lives and the places they once inhabited. For Fardinfard, the best part of this project was the moments spent talking with them. These conversations, filled with empathy and compassion, form the core of this project, highlighting their shared experiences of displacement.


Game Changer (2021) highlights the aspirations of a rebel generation in Georgia, who seek to distance themselves from Russian influence and align with the European Union. Hossein observed and documented these young individuals, ultimately photographing them in abandoned Soviet-era buildings with a white backdrop to symbolically separate them from these relics of the past that they don’t feel they belong to. This generation reminded him of the young generation in Iran that he is part of—a generation that is rebellious and desires to shake up the old structures for a better future, as seen recently in Iran with the Woman, Life, Freedom movement.


Long intrigued by the contours of the Earth, Hossein Fardinfard holds a B.S. in Cartography, a B.A. in Information Technology, and an M.A. in Geomorphology. Feeling increasingly drawn to examine the human spirit, he studied at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, finishing his B.A. in Photography in 2022.

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