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FORMAT comes to the Open Centre’s Gallery 5

We’re very excited about our upcoming collaboration with the UK’s biggest photography festival, FORMAT. From March 12th, our Gallery 5 space in Derby’s historic Market Hall will house works by Jana Romanova and Farhad Berahman. Scroll down to view a preview of their work and learn a bit more about the artists!

Visit the FORMAT website
Visit the FORMAT website

The Open Centre’s Gallery 5, on the first floor balcony of the Market Hall, is a space within which we explore stories, ideas and art that celebrates the diverse heritage of Derby and Derbyshire. The FORMAT show will launch at 6:30pm on March 12th – send Project Manager, Dr Alex Rock, an email ( or a tweet (@AlexDerbyOpen) if you’re planning on popping by for the launch!




Farhad Berahman

The world today is divided into various borders and boundaries; human beings have created them over the many centuries to hold a better control and restriction over the population. Without our own accord or personal choice, we are born in different parts of the world that determine from the our birth till our death our title, nationality, religion and cultural qualities.

Berahman explores the predicament of Iranian exiles, who are uncertain of their past nor their future. Humans are verified by identity documents provided by the government or the passport we hold to travel to various destinations. We are categorized, divided and restricted through that legalized piece of paper, which evidently proves our identity. A passport is evidence of the nationality, defining individuals by country and region.

Every year thousands of Iranians flock to the UK legally and illegally to seek asylum based on various reasons. They seek a new life and recognition into a new, foreign identity. Part of the journey is to shed their identity given at birth, although in a foreign place this will continue to define them .

Jana Romanova

From "Shvilishvili" series, Georgia, Russia, 2012-2013.Shvilishvili is Georgian for grandchild. In this project the author questions the value of family photography and their own family ties in a modern society. She attempts to unite her relatives from one side of her blood line using photography. The family is divided by the borders of two Eastern European countries, Russia and Georgia. Both sides of the family are experiencing the post-war political climate and the tragedy of murder committed within the family.

In the first part of the project the representatives of Romanova’s family pose for group portraits to form a chain of images where each relative always appears in two photographs: the previous and the next. The chain starts in Georgia, goes through several towns and ends in Russia. While working on the chain, Romanova discovered a lot of her grandmother Keto’s photographs in each of the blood-line relative’s houses. Keto had sent these images to her family in Georgia since she moved to Russia.

Romanova failed to understand anything about her biography from the found images. The artist placed the portraits of her grandmother back into the old plastic bags just as her relatives had kept them for many years. What is seen in Romanova’s rephotographing of her grandmother’s life. In the appropriated images nobody can explain or understand the narrative of the original images.


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