A photo expo by Swedish photographer Johan Bävman titled “Swedish Dads” was launched at the Zemestan Art Gallery at the Iranian Artists Forum in Tehran on Friday (April 7), in a ceremony attended by Swedish Ambassador to Iran Helena Sangeland and a number of guests from Sweden.
According to a Farsi report by Honar Online news website, the exposition has been organized by Sweden’s Culture Institution and the Swedish Embassy’s cultural section with the cooperation of the Iranian Artists Forum.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Sangeland said Sweden is among the countries which endeavours to promote its art and culture across the world by undertaking cultural activities.
Since 2003, she added, Sweden has kicked off its artistic and cultural activities in Iran.
“I am very happy that the exhibition has opened [almost] at the beginning of the Iranian New Year, which started on March 20. Next week, the chorus ensemble of one of the most prominent Swedish universities will perform a concert at Niavaran Cultural House in Tehran.”
Commenting on the theme of the exhibition and its title “Swedish Dads”, she said in 1974, the Swedish government raised the issue of fathers’ having parental leave after the birth of their children and implemented a system to this end [enabling parents to stay at home with their child for a total of 480 days].
“Since then, numerous activities have been carried out in this regard. Despite the government’s support for Swedish fathers, only 25 percent of them have so far opted to use the opportunity provided by the government. I am optimistic that the figure would soon rise.”
On the exhibition, Sangeland said Bävman, a Swedish photographer who has a bright future ahead of him, has held this expo in different parts of the world.
“I am happy that today, these 25 photos have been put on display in Iran as well, so that this visual experience of Swedish fathers can be shared with Iranians.”
She said the main focus of this photo essay [showcased in the exhibition] is on those fathers who have chosen to use their parental leave and spend the six-month stint with their child at home.
All the photos portray Swedish fathers at home, while taking care of their children, she added.
Speaking in the same ceremony, Asieh Mazinani, the art deputy of the Iranian Artists Forum, said “Swedish Dads” is among the exhibitions which has received considerable attention worldwide.
“The photos of this collection have been posted and viewed on social media for many times.”
Born in Sweden in 1982, Bävman is a prominent Swedish photographers who has won numerous international awards such as World Press Photo and UNICEF Photo of the Year.
Earlier, commenting on his photos in an interview, he said, “By using the portraits of fathers who are in ordinary daily positions and situations with their children or are carrying out daily activities with them and through having conversations with them, I somehow intended to draw greater attention to those fathers who prefer to stay at home and improve their relationship with their children instead of going to work.”
Also, on his website “www.johanbavman.se“, he writes: “With this project, I want to find out why these men have chosen to stay at home so much longer than the majority of Swedish dads. What has it done for them, how have their relationships with their partner and their child changed, and what expectations did they have before taking parental leave?
“There are two aims to this project. The first is to describe the background to Sweden’s unique parental allowance. The second is to inspire other fathers – in Sweden, and further afield – to consider the positive benefits of such a system.”