KARIM MOTTAGHI - BIABAN - THREE DECADE PICTORIAL NARRATION OF LAKE URMIA
BiAban - Three Decade Pictorial Narration of Lake Urmia portrays Lake Urmia, in the present and over the course of three decades. Due to severe effects of climate change, Lake Urmia is now experiencing the worst drought in recorded history. Very recently, the lake and its beach were a tourist paradise and honeymoon dream. Currently, it’s little more than salt and sand.
Lake Urmia (Persian: Daryacheh-ye Orumiyeh) is the largest lake in the Middle East. The lake lies in the bottom of the large central depression of the Azerbaijan region in northwestern Iran, at an elevation of 1,275 m above sea level. Like the Dead Sea, it is remarkable for the extreme salinity of its water and mud. Thousands of people go there as a place of healing each year, a kind of ceremonial activity. Bathing in its water and putting the mud on your body is believed to have a therapeutic effect, as an aid to relaxation and several skin conditions and bone diseases. It is very likely that the medicinal effects of the mud and water result from environmental factors and unique faculties of the location. This activity is unfortunately now gone, due to the shortage of water in the lake.
Recent environmental research, done by governmental and non-governmental organizations, say that a new desert covered with salt is being born. This may in turn cause an environmental disaster due to salt-storms. This project narrates Lake Urmia’s three-decade decline, ending with a portrait of its wrecked beaches, littered with abandoned ships, boats, bath-boxes, and water repositories.
Karim Mottaghi is from Tabriz, Iran. He holds an MFA in photography. Mottaghi is a University lecturer, and has also translated several books on photography. He is the winner of the 10th and 11th Photography Biennale Tehran. He is a part of Mamat, an Iranian art and documentary photography collective.