Visual artist Yasmin Golshani (CRF 2005) told Civitella about the recent protests in Iran and how they have influenced her work. Yasmin’s latest project highlights the worldwide movement of women cutting their hair as a symbolic demonstration of solidarity with the women of Iran.

“After the death of Mahsa Amini under the custody of the Morality Police in September 2022, a new series of civil unrest has begun in Iran. The protests soon became nationwide, spread across different social classes, universities and even schools, and of course on the streets of many cities across Iran. The protests are still ongoing as of the present moment. The unrest has been called the ‘biggest challenge’ to the government of Iran since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 by Guardian. As of December 5th 2022, at least 471 people, including 64 minors, had been killed as a result of the government’s intervention in the protests; an estimated 18,210 have been arrested, including 585 university students throughout at least 159 cities and towns, and at 143 universities (Source: Voice of America).

Women have had a great and important role in these revolutionary acts throughout Iran. One of their symbolic acts has been cutting their hair to demonstrate their sympathy based on a mythical Iranian tradition dated more than a thousand years. This act has now become a global movement of solidarity for women’s freedom. So many women around the world have joined this revolution, embracing the slogan ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ and the Iranian tradition by cutting their hair.

In a series of works called Woman, Life, Freedom, which will be completed over time, I want to revive the memories of about one hundred legendary and influential women of culture and politics from Iran and around the world, as they are significant role models for all women who strive to make their own way in life and work these days. If these wonderful women were among us now, they would undoubtedly support this revolution led by women.

In this series, hands cutting hair were added to the portraits through the art of handmade collage. All the materials were printed with a basic printer. It was important to me that the final work would remind the observer of the texture of a newspaper. Mainly because newspapers have been the main element of my art works throughout the last 25 years. The background of all the portraits is made of cardboard with a flat color, to emphasize focus on the act of the subject, the woman that is cutting her hair. The written part of the work includes the name, surname, occupation and year of birth and death of the woman. The nationality of the women is intentionally cut off from the work, because these women are all in worldwide solidarity with each other, regardless of their nationality and race.”