Shrouded women with kitchen implement faces are raising questions on Sturt St.

 Ghadirian's Like Every Day
Ghadirian's Like Every Day

They’re some of the most prominent artworks of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, but some passersby have been left scratching their heads over just what it’s all about.

Iranian photographer Shadi Ghadirian’s larger-than-life images are installed on giant white blocks in the Sturt Street median strip outside town hall and are impossible to miss.

Those who have stopped to look at the Like Every Day installation have read how the photographer has used housework utensils and the female form in a humorous comment on the traditional roles by which women in the Middle East and around the world have been defined.

But it’s a little harder to make sense of driving along the busy road.

Ms Ghadirian created the Like Every Day series from the plethora of domestic gifts she received after her wedding – items completely foreign to a young professional.

According to the exhibition description, the artist’s use of these objects, including irons and frying pans, as masks to cover the faces of her veiled sitters, portrays a one-dimensional interpretation of housewives, absurdly reducing their identities to cooks and cleaners.

The photographic display was originally created in 2000 and 2001 and has since been exhibited around the world, including Korea where Ballarat International Foto Biennale director Fiona Sweet met Ms Chadirian.

Ms Sweet chose the prominent city-centre location for the outdoor installation because of the simple and striking form of the works.

“Because Shadi’s work is very graphic in composition – it’s all the same, one women with a white background with different beautiful fabrics and different prints – it’s really striking and people can see it immediately.

“With public art you’ve got to have the right thing in the right place and if you’ve got a busy street the strong shape and simple imagery works.”

Shadi Ghadirian’s Like Every Day is on display in Sturt St until the end of the Foto Biennale on September 17.