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Call for the Documentation of State Censorship of Iranian Art and Culture

August 2023


To collect and document the history of censorship and expose its inner mechanisms is to reveal the violence that dictators inflict on creative minds. Iranian artists, writers, and cultural practitioners have always struggled against censorship, but in the past decades the Iranian regime has done everything in its power to subject art and culture to its horrific religious Guidance.

The experience of censorship is the experience of violence, but since it has now come to define the status quo in Iran, it appears “natural”. This destructive mechanism has plagued Iranian art and culture for too many years, and it has no function other than to control thought and make art and culture barren and innocuous. Iranian artists and writers have all lived under the threatening shadow of censorship and have constantly experienced its damaging impact in their works. Although the menace of censorship has distorted their creations, only a very small fraction of this systemic violation of artistic free expression in Iran has been made visible. In light of the “Woman, Life, Freedom” democratic and progressive movement, the time has come to denounce censorship once again, and join our voices to expose its mechanism.

Art/Culture/Action Collective is now calling on the Iranian and global art community to mobilize and document the historical experiences of censorship as one of gravest predicaments of Iranian contemporary culture.

There is no doubt that the apparatus of censorship, led by the Ministry of Islamic Guidance, has actively sought to cover up the traces of its systemic suppression and conceal the destructive impacts of censorship on culture. But, Iranian artists, writers, cultural practitioners, and their colleagues across the world are the first-hand witnesses of censorships committed by the Islamic State of Iran. Since one of the most effective ways of fighting against censorship is to document it and reveal how suppression works in silence, we call upon all members of the Iranian arts and culture community and their colleagues across the world to publicly share what they know about the censorship of their own works or those made by others. You can use any format, including text, video, or audio to share your story with Art/Culture/Action. The reception of a narrative does not necessarily oblige us to publish it.

Who can participate and what can be discussed: All artists, writers, and cultural practitioners across various disciplines, and anyone who has had a hand on Iranian culture and art are encouraged to document and contribute to this history of censorship in Iran. This account will cover all forms, stages, places, and professions, including: exhibitions (at schools, private, or public venues), performances, screenings, publications, and broadcasts. This project is open to the narratives of all creators, including but not limited to painters, illustrators, cartoonists/caricaturists, sculptors, calligraphers, dancers, directors, cinematographers, photographers, actors, musicians, singers, composers, architects, urban planners, designer (in all fields, from fashion to web), technical and administrative workers, jury members, journalists, archivists, historians, writers, researchers, professors, educators, critics, and students.

What should be included: 1. The title of the work(s) or project(s) that have been censored

2. The date and location of both production and the censorship of the works

3. Images of the censored works, or any related documents or records such as letters, emails, reports, installation shots, etc.

4. A note stating that you would give us permission to publish and make your narrative and its related documents freely available to the public on the Art/Culture/Action website.

How to contact us: If you are interested in sharing your narrative of censorship, please send us an email and we will contact you with more details. You can reach us at:

To send your narrative or discuss your ideas, you can reach us at:

In Solidarity,




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