Iranian women artists call for justice
What happens in Iran is heartbreaking. The brutal, tragic death of Mahsa Amini sparked a revolution largely led by young women demanding an end to the Islamic regime. Social media has become a major protest platform where Iranian artists from all over the globe create art in support of the movement. As Iranians both in Iran and abroad stay vocal, one demand from the global community is clear: keep spreading the word! Spread awareness!
On September 16, Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman, died after being detained and tortured by Iran’s so-called morality police. As protests sweep across Iran, artists keep creating in support of the women-led movement, while the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance heavily censors the arts.
We now face a crucial moment in the history of feminism with people all over the world fighting together for women’s liberation. The regime has responded with extreme brutality, but protesters keep pushing back, fighting for freedom, equality and oppression.
Iranian artists are playing a vital role in the current uprisings communicating with people through provocative work. Despite the Iranian government’s widespread Internet blackouts and blocking of social media platforms, a number of artists in Iran have been able to speak up by using VPN and continue to support the protest movement by sharing their work online.
Ghazal Foroutan is an Iranian graphic designer and educator. She worked for Studio Shizaru for two years before she moved to the USA in 2018, where she started her MFA in graphic design at Oklahoma State University. Her thesis was a collection of visual explorations in response to Iranian women’s rights. She is currently teaching graphic design at Augusta University.
Foroutan adapted the famous 1940s image of Rosie the Riveter, this time depicting her with her headscarf in her hand, proudly showing off her “no to compulsory hijab” tattoo. You can also download Posters and sticker files created by Ghazal here.
Jalz – is a Persian poster designer. This work combines an image of the Azadi (Freedom) tower with Matisse’s dancers. The bold calligraphy written in Farsi is a Kurdish phrase, “Jin-Jiyan-Azadi” (Women, Life, Freedom), a call for justice heard in many of the protests.
In Iranian culture, women have historically cut their hair off in mourning. The act has also become a symbol of bodily independence and resistance against the oppressive regime.
Touraj Saberivand used images from Persian book paintings to blend traditional visuals with contemporary ones so that to reflect on Iran’s history and long-lasting crisis.
Cover credits: (c) Kaveh Kazemi, 1984