Mass migration to the cities, along with other forces such as the spread of access to satellite television, the internet, and the general dominance of western media has resulted in a dramatic shift towards cultural homogenization over the last few decades. This has meant that appreciation for the cultural and ethnic diversity, which has always been one of the distinguishing characteristics of Iran as a nation, has been significantly eroded. This is especially true amongst the younger generations, which compromise the majority of Iranian society.
With this series, which was featured in Vogue Italia, Ali Sabouki leverages the undeniable visual appeal of traditional folk costumes from across Iran to call attention to this fading of cultural heritage. By placing urban dwellers in these traditional garments, Sabouki’s subjects reverse the flow of rural-to-urban, and tradition-to-globalization which has done away with centuries of heritage for quick fixes of generic entertainment. The work harkens back to a time gone by and shows us the complexities and passions of tribal and rural residents of Iran who have often been brushed aside as simple people living simple, irrelevant lives.