Image of artwork titled "Corruption on Earth" by Sheida Soleimani

Sheida Soleimani, Corruption on Earth, 2020
Archival pigment print, mounted and framed
40 × 30 inches
Edition of 3 + 1 AP

Levers of Power catches politicians in the very act of their notoriety. Her newest series examines a fundamental, if overlooked, element of the political gesture. Her photographs reveal how politicians have trained their bodies to set media machines into spin cycles as endless means of distraction. The source imagery used as backdrops tell a radically different story, commanding us to link the crisis and devastation to the microlevel of the political gesture.

Ruhollah Zam was an Iranian activist and journalist who was best known for operating a Telegram channel named ‘Amadnews’, which he founded in 2015. Zam played a high-profile role in the 2017–2018 Iranian protests, to which he devoted special coverage at the time. In June 2020, an Iran court found him guilty of “corruption on earth” for running a popular anti-government forum, which officials said had incited the 2017–2018 Iranian protests. He was sentenced to death by an Iranian court and was executed on 12 December 2020.
The photo shows his hand (in a prison suit) from his trial, along with the hand of Khamenei, who
was the mastermind behind his capture and execution. On the list of his ‘crimes’ was teaching
individuals how to make Molotov cocktails (the object connecting both hands) via his telegram
channel. The backdrop images are of him once he was captured.



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