The Guardian

'Is it art or pain?' Iran's Parastou Forouhar on family, death and the failed revolution

Daughter of high-profile dissidents talks about how their murder nearly 20 years ago continues to inform her work
Parastou Forouhar says she finds ‘healing in repetition’ through her artwork. Photograph: Courtesy of the artist.

Every autumn, the Iranian artist Parastou Forouhar returns to Tehran from Germany to hold a memorial service for her murdered parents.

Dariush Forouhar, a secular politician, and his wife, Parvaneh, were two of Iran’s most high-profile political activists when they were stabbed to death in their home on 22 November 1998. The killers placed her father’s body in a chair facing towards the Qibla, the direction of Mecca.

Forouhar, 55, remembers receiving a call from a BBC reporter asking when she had last spoken to her parents.

“I called a close friend of

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