In Honor of… is a multi-faceted project of art, literature, and performances, in remembrance of hundreds of men and women who have been taken as political prisoners in Iran in recent years. They have fought for social justice, civil liberties, and worker and environmental rights. Today, they are behind bars for wanting to speak freely, practice their faith peacefully, join a union, receive fair wages, or protect the environment. The Iranian regime, however, has continued to deny them this voice and freedom.
In Honor Of … Clarion Alley Mural Project
Celebrating In Honor of … a new mural that features seven women who are currently in prison in Iran. Each of the seven women in the mural is a strong advocate of various civil rights movements. It includes portraits of Nasrin Sotoudeh, a lawyer and human rights activist sentenced to 33 years in 2018 for exercising her freedom of choice; Athena Daemi, known for her child rights activism, and sentenced to seven years in 2014; Niloufar Bayani, an environmental activist arrested in 2018 with 55 others by Iranian security forces; Sepideh Gholian, a social and civil activist arrested and sexually assaulted in 2018 during a protest with labor activists; Zeinab Jalalian, an activist, was arrested in 2008 and sentenced to death, but then reduced to life in prison; Shokufe Yadollahi, one of the Gonabadi Dervishes, was arrested in 2018 along with hundreds of Dervishes, including her three children; and Azita Rafizadeh, a professor at the Baha’i University of Iran (BIHE) was arrested with her husband for teaching Baha’i students who were unable to study at Iranian universities.
Press for the project has included:
On October 6, 2019 our mural unveiling and community event included:
- Introduction of Clarion Alley by Megan Wilson, CAMP co-director & Board President;
- Introduction of In Honor Of … by Shaghayegh Cyrous, artist, curator and CAMP Board Member and Director of Programming;
- Introduction of Iran Prison Atlas by Firuzeh Mahmoudi, Executive Director of United for Iran;
- Presentation by Sahar Delijani author of CHILDREN OF THE JACARANDA TREE;
- Reading by Niknaz Aftahi, Design Professional and Human Rights Activist
- Introduction of Diaspora Art Connection (DAC) and Musicians by Nazy Kaviani, founder and Executive Director of DAC;
- Music by Adrienne Mehri Shamszad and PENTA Group;
- Performance by Baharak Khaleghi and Behnaz Khaleghi;
Augmented Reality “Bahar” by Snuggle for Survival;
Photographs by Mehregan Pezeshki
A participatory Performance by Mehregan Pezeshki
Every Wednesday in the month of October, 2019 there was a performance by Mehregan Pezeshki in front of the mural.
Iranian women have had a very contentious history with the Hijab, the Islamic covering often mandated by Islam to prevent the sexual arousal of men. Previously optional, this mode of dress was declared illegal in the 1930s, as Reza Shah, the ruler of Iran tried to force Western modernity on the population. After the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the pendulum swung in the other direction, with the Hijab being mandatory and strictly enforced with beatings and incarceration. Extreme punishment, however, has not dissuaded Iranian women from their fight for freedom.
In 2014 Masih Alinejad, an Iranian journalist and activist based in United States, started a movement called My Stealthy Freedom, where women were encouraged to post photos of their uncovered heads on social media. More publicly, on White Wednesdays, women would wear a white headscarf in public as a gesture of support for freedom of choice (with or without Hijab). This movement grew to draw attention to other social injustices facing the women of Iran. The government’s reaction was to crack down with further arrests and imprisonment, resulting in sentences as harsh as 24 years and many women leaving the country for a life in exile.
In this project I will use the rhythmic beatings of a percussion instrument to symbolize and draw attention to the repression of Iranian women. Audience participation will be encouraged by distributing additional instruments for the audience to accompany the performance and thus support and be the voice of Iranian Women.
This drum circle was held every Wednesday in October from 4:00pm to 5:00pm in front the mural “In Honor Of…” at Clarion Alley.