Mohammad Kalantari | "O! Nassaji, The Hope of an Exhausted City": Parallel Circuit

15 December 2023 - 12 January 2024 Parallel Circuit
A Solo Exhibition of Works by Mohammad Kalantari at Parallel Circuit.
Installation Views
Press release


Parallel Circuit announces “O! Nassaji: The Hope of an Exhausted City,” an exhibition by Mohammad Kalantari. The show will open on Friday, December 15, 2023, and continue through January 12, 2024. “O! Nassaji: The Hope of an Exhausted City,” marking the artist’s first collaboration with Dastan, includes printmaking on textile, photographs, video, installations, and a sculpture. 

Defining the project as an “intersection between visual culture, revisionist historiography, urban sociological studies as well as exploring the effects of industrialization and shifts in everyday life,” the artist has set to focus on two modern establishments in the northern Iranian city of Qaem-Shahr: Nassaji Qaem-Shahr Football Club and Nassaji Mazandaran Textile Industries Company. 

Founded in 1930 as part of the initiatives to modernize Iran, Nassaji Mazandaran Textile Industries Company was the largest textile manufacturing plant in the Middle East. For generations, its factories have played an essential role in many aspects life in Qaem-Shahr, including its economy and agriculture, as well as its culture, social, and urban life. However, in recent years, much of its production lines have been closed and abandoned, leaving behind a population once dependent on the economic opportunities it provided: jobs were lost, agricultural production, especially cotton farming, had to be cut down, and many of the people employed in the plants had to migrate elsewhere. 


Based on the artist’s research, most of the land and machinery once owned by the factories has been sold off, with only Plant #3 remaining operational, employing a mere 270 people, compared to thousands that once worked in the company. As of now, the sole product of the factory is Kafan, a cloth used to wrap a deceased person’s body in Islamic practice. 


Most of the remaining land, especially its largest area that hosted Plant #2, is now used as waste dumping sites, where poverty has led many to search through the trash. “The Weaving Mother,” a sculpture that once sat in front of Plant #2 and was considered a symbol for both the factory and the city, was removed as part of the dissolution of the company, initially moved to the city’s leading waste management site, and then to the city’s beltway, receiving much damage.


All along these tragic events, Nassaji Qaem-Shahr Football Club became a new symbol for the city, with its residents rediscovering their collective bitter memories and joys, reliving moments from the past through the team's life. The current exhibition visits the factory, the team, and the sculpture of the weaving mother to explore the lost hopes of a city and the rediscovery of a bygone past.