The Gallery B612 team is honored to feature local Iranian American artists here at the gallery exhibitions. In international news, the citizens of Iran have been in conflict about women's rights since the 20th century under its newly acquired Islamic rule in 1979. Women are treated as second class citizens, abused, and forced to marry as young as 13 years of age. In recent events, during a protest, a young Kurdish-Iranian woman has been murdered in the streets while under the hands of Iranian authority. Soon after, a women's protest broke out. The young woman's name was Mahsa Amini.
Mahsa Amini was a 22-year-old Iranian woman who was killed by the Morality Police in Tehran for wearing her hijab "loosely." This sparked protests that have been escalating and spreading across the country over the past few months. People are pouring into the streets demanding their basic rights, even schoolgirls are abandoning classrooms and joining the protests in an unprecedented way. Women have been at the forefront of these protests. "Women, Life, Freedom" has become the slogan of this uprising. In response, the Iranian authorities have restricted access to Internet so that the news cannot leave the country and have started a brutal crackdown of the protests.
Marzy Rharovi is a Persian-American artist living in Seattle, Washington who's work we currrently have exhibiting in Gallery B612's Freedom Exhibition. Rharovi's piece titled Freedom, is an ode to these tragic events that have taken place in Iran. One form of protest the Iranian women do is cut off their hair in public to stand up against harsh, and sometimes deadly, punishments of not presenting their bodies in a very specific manor, which the government deems what is and is not appropriate.
During Gallery B612's Grand Re-Opening Reception night in May of 2023, performer and choreographer Parmida Ziaei shared a piece dedicated to the women of Iran. Most notably, alluding to the death of Masha Amini, a young martyr for women's rights in Iran.
Ziaei's dance was passionate, free moving, elegant, and brought the strength of womanhood to the crowd. It brought the beauty of women's fragility and external beauty with the problem of it being abused. The night of her performance, Ziaei learned of three more innocent people executed in Iran for this movement. "...But we keep going. More furious," Parmida writes in her social media post of her performance.
At the end of Ziaei's moving performance, she concludes it by alluding to the act of cutting her own hair. This is reference to Iranian women's protests in Iran; an emotive gesture indeed.
The people of Iran are continuously asking the international community to be their voice, to spread the word and to bring awareness, and to make sure that the world takes notice of their fight for freedom and human rights and stands in support. You can help, follow, re-post or retweet content from hashtags such as #MahsaAmini or #Mahsa_Amini and other informative hashtags and accounts that are circulating on social media; follow the news and updates and listen to what the Iranian people are asking for from the international community. Amplify their voice, spread the word and keep the discussion going. Support the movement. #WomenLifeFreedom
You can come see Iranian art work and more at Gallery B612's Freedom Exhibition, open now through July 21st. Hours and location are below.