72 Virgins, 2009
Video, PAL, 09:12 min, color, sound
Coproduction: National Centre for Contemporary Art (NCCA), Kaliningrad and Moscow, Russian Federation
It is a common tradition in Russia and Asia for the bride and groom to take wedding
photographs in scenic places. In Kaliningrad wedding parties usually come to Kant’s tomb to lay flowers and drink champagne. The performance of Shahram Entekhabi
focuses on this phenomenon. The artist visits Kant’s tomb with 72 “virgins”, to accompany him in paradise as was promised to martyrs in some interpretations of Islamic teachings. The women, of all shapes and sizes, are dressed in black dresses, each with a white flower in hand.
Similar to Shahram Entekhabi’s previous projects, the 72 Virgins photograph and performance-video features the artist deconstructing the stereotype of ‘The Other’, migrant foreigners and those on the periphery of society. In doing so, 72 Virgins highlights the clichés about Muslims by casting a critical view to notions of masculinity. It also questions the ideals and realities of roles and promises as (mis)interpreted and instrumentalized by ideology, religious discourse and society to rally and recruit people for political gain.
Special thanks to 72 participants – beautiful inhabitants of Kaliningrad.
Zinaida Shershun, Alexandra Trifonova, Angelina Bychina, Svetlana Podnebesnaya, Svetlana Sedova, Irina Chesnokova, Yulia Bardoun, Ekaterina Shamova, Anastasia Karpenko, Elena Tsvetaeva, Inna Nikonova, Maria Mankevich, Oksana Boytsova, Elena Boytsova, Maria Zhirova, Galina Kuzmich, Vera Kazakova, Olga Goryacheva, Ksenia Timofeyeva, Vladislava Shamsulina, Yana Baldina, Varvara Muntyan, Elena Lipchanskaya, Natalia Shabanina, Ilona Tarasova, Nina Makarova, Anastasia Pozlyak, Karina Gurina, Zhanna MalyginaElena Gromova, Sun Hao, Polina Gagarina, Valeria Voynova, Olga Kurochkina, Lada Dudorova, Karina Pavlovskaya, Elizaveta Barsukova, Liza Kaysarova, Irina Solovieva, Alexandra Toropova, Viktoria Vasilieva, Darina Bagan, Alla Firyusheva, Ekaterina Gladkaya, Viktoria Dyvulskaya, Evgenia Chugreyeva, Alexandra Yuricyna, Lidia Lobanova, Yulia Astakhova, Svetlana Kirsanova, Ekaterina Sokur, Inna Kocheryan, Olga Abramova, Ekaterina Karpenko, Elena Matskevichene, Olga Kharina, Daria Malysheva, Ekaterina Novitskaya, Kristina Dannikova, Anastasia Zaguzina, Daria Egorova, Elena Basharimova, Ne Hajim, Elena Antonovich, Alexandra Leonenko, Svetlana Zatsepilina, Alina Kozlova, Olga Fedorova, Elena Udaltsova, Iena Braynina, Albina Neminuschaya, Yana Kutovaya