An Elegy for the Death of Hamun

As one of the largest province of Iran, Sistan and Baluchestan is located in the southeast of the country and it shares borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan. Once a forest in the distant past and with a history of over 5000 years, it used to be a great source of crops in the country. Now, the province is facing rapid climate change, which has turned this vast region into an infertile desert. Drought, unemployment, and hopelessness have made over one fourth of the population migrate in recent years. Sistan and Baluchestan is now doomed to vanish. Lake Hamun is connected to Helmand/Hirmand River which stems from Afghanistan. The Afghanistan government has built extensive dams in the Upstream Helmand, preventing the water from reaching Iran. Any fluctuation in the water level causes problems for the whole system.
Today, however, there is nothing left of the Lake except for a cracked barren land. In the past, the reeds in Lake Hamun were the main source for feeding the livestock but were also used in making traditional boats called Totens. Also, people made their living by fishing, farming and animal husbandry and their lives were dependent on Lake Hamun. With Hamun dying, the great diversity in wildlife and vegetation has virtually vanished. The province has been suffering from drought, famine, unemployment and depopulation for years now.
Sistan is now the land of forgotten people; it is the land of people whose voices have not been heard so much so that they have become silent. In the recent past, they used to be the masters of Lake Hamun and they could freely go fishing on boats but now their boats are mostly broken, capsized and empty. All these problems have led to the depopulation of the province. People move to other places such as Cha’bahar or Golestan so they can live on farms; however, there is no paradise waiting for them anywhere. Despite the passing of two decades, the differences between the Balouch and Golestani people are still considerably high.


Hashem Shakeri is an artist, photographer and filmmaker who lives in Tehran. He began practicing photography in 2006 and started a professional career in documentary photography in 2010. Since then he has been working as a freelance photographer on arrange of commissions and private projects in Iran, Turkey, South Korea, Malaysia, France, Denmark and Germany
One of his major concerns is the psychological investigation of human relationships in the con- temporary world. By capturing restlessness, perplexity and social struggle in the modern capitalist world, He records the optical unconsciousness of the society and provides a universal narrative form with a personal insight.
He has been involved in many national and international festivals and received many awards. Among them are the Ian Parry Scholarship 2015, the Lucas Dolega Award 2016 and the POYi’s World Understanding Award in 2017, and the Lens Culture’s Emerging Talents Award for 2018 and Getty Images Reportage Grant 2019. He has held various exhibitions around the world, being shown in many museums, festivals and biennales such as Rencontres de la photographie in Arles, Paris Photo, Cortona on the move, visa pour l’image, lumix photo festival and others. His works have been featured in numerous publications around the world such as Sunday Times, British Journal of Photography, New York Times, The New Yorker, Paris Match, Aperture, Reporters Without Borders, Courrier International, National Geographic, Spiegel and others.





This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work!

Please upgrade today!