Blame the Shadows Collective

To be queer is still taboo in mainstream Iranian society; it is considered sinful and unnatural, or at best, a psychological illness. Those from the LGBTQIA+ community are often told they bring shame upon their families. They are forced to hide their identity or risk abandonment and isolation.

Poetic and haunting, THE SKY AFTER RAIN presents the stories of three queer members of the Iranian diaspora—Payam, Shyla, and Shaya—through a formalistic synthesis of recorded interviews, spoken word poetry, moving images, sound design, and choreographed dance.

Choreographer/dancer Tara Jade Samaya’s body is used as a revolutionary medium; holding space for queer voices actively suppressed and bodies forcibly concealed.

The three-piece video installation explores overarching themes about identity, queerness, gender, family, forgiveness, resilience, hope, love, and loss.

The collection entails a poem written by Payam dedicated to his boyfriend, Hasanak, and their short yet passionate relationship; Shyla’s recorded interviews about her inner self journey to understanding and accepting her identity as a lesbian trans woman whilst finding strength to forgive her family for their harsh treatment of her; and Shaya’s audio journals narrating her attempts at testing rigid gender boundaries, and the transphobic incidents which led to her leaving her motherland and family.

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