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‘Afsaneh: Box 3’ by Ali Mobasser


‘Box 3’ is Afsaneh Mobasser’s journey told through official documents and Identifications.

Information on Afsaneh Mobasser:

Afsaneh was born on the 28th of March 1957 in Tehran, Iran. She grew up with her parents and her older brother Afshin (my father). Her father was an army general who had been Chief of The National Police between 1963 and 1970 and had proceeded to become Head of Civil Defence and Deputy Prime Minister of Iran until 1979. The children lived a happy and privileged life, going to the best schools and spending their holidays in their villa by the sea.

In 1979, The Islamic Revolution of Iran changed the course of their lives forever. Their properties and assets in Iran were seized by the new establishment and my grandfather went into hiding to avoid capture and execution. Afsaneh had returned to Iran from London where she was studying to be with her mother who was dying of cancer. My grandfather, risking his life, made a visit to his wife’s hospital bedside to say his final goodbye before fleeing Iran. She passed away three months later at 47.

Afsaneh joined her father in the United Kingdom where they were to seek asylum. Neither were to ever return to Iran. My father arrived in London in 1983 (having separated from my mother). In the summer of 1985, at the age of eight, my mother sent me to London from Mission Viejo, California where I had been living. Afsaneh and my father raised me in Afsaneh’s two bedroom flat in Putney, south-west London where I was to share a room with my father until leaving home at eighteen.

To my grandfather’s disappointment, Afsaneh never found her own partner and was to never have any children. I would often feel guilty about this as I knew my father and I had inadvertently replaced that part of her life. She became my mother and was selfless in her devotion to us. Afsaneh and my father remained living together in Putney until 2013.

On August 11th 2013, Afsaneh Mobasser suffered a brain haemorrhage. It happened while my son, wife and I were on a visit to Putney to see her. She passed away three days later. She was 56.


Artist: Ali Mobasser //



Afsaneh Mobasser, age 55. Oyster Photocard. Issued in London, 2012 © Ali Mobasser.


Afsaneh Mobasser, age 52. British Passport. Issued in London, 2009 © Ali Mobasser.


Afsaneh Mobasser, age 50. Iranian Identification Card. Issued in Tehran (not in person), 2007 © Ali Mobasser.


Afsaneh Mobasser, age 42. British Passport. Issued in London, 1999 © Ali Mobasser.


Afsaneh Mobasser, age 39. Iranian Passport. Issued in London, 1996 © Ali Mobasser.


Afsaneh Mobasser, age 24. United Nations Travel Document. Issued in London, 1981 © Ali Mobasser.


Afsaneh Mobasser, age 18. International Driving License. Issued in Tehran, 1975 © Ali Mobasser.


Afsaneh Mobasser, age 12. Primary School Diploma. Issued in Tehran, 1969 © Ali Mobasser.


Afsaneh Mobasser, age 11. 5th Grade School Report. Issued in Tehran, 1968 © Ali Mobasser.


Afsaneh Mobasser, age 10. 4th Grade School Report. Issued in Tehran, 1967 © Ali Mobasser.


Afsaneh Mobasser, age 9. 3rd Grade School Report. Issued in Tehran, 1966 © Ali Mobasser.


Afsaneh Mobasser, age 8. 2nd Grade School Report. Issued in Tehran, 1965 © Ali Mobasser.


Afsaneh Mobasser, age 7. 1st Grade School Report. Issued in Tehran, 1964 © Ali Mobasser.

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