Graphic Design, Art – On September 17, Mahsa Amini, 22, died after being arrested and reportedly beaten by Iran’s so-called ‘morality police’ for showing a lock of hair under her hijab, thus not properly wearing the veil. The tragic news sparked an ongoing nationwide protest supporting Iranian women’s freedom. The hyper-conservative government responded with violent crackdowns and internet blackouts to contain the ongoing turmoil. So far, many activists have died while schools have been shut. At Archipanic, we believe in women’s freedom of expression. We selected six art and design projects and initiatives supporting the protesters’ cause. #mahsaamini!
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Cutting a lock of hair has become a symbolic act supporting the protesters’ cause. Italian illustrator Marco Melgrati designed a woman about to cut herself loose from a man who is clinging to her hair and wearing the characteristic green uniform of Iran’s morality police. Iranian illustrator Mahdieh Farhadkiaei drew a lone queen taking a pair of scissors to her hair. The Milan-based artist often uses playing card designs to highlight civil rights causes.
Milan’s Triennale and MAXXI Museum in Rome invite people to donate a hair lock into an apposite container in the museums’ central halls. The collected tufts will be sent to the Iranian embassy in Rome and the Milanese consulate as a peaceful act of solidarity for protesters.
Tim Fu, a developer at Zaha Hadid Architects’ computational design research group CODE, envisioned a monument inspired by feminity and bravery that recalls a faceless woman with uncovered hair blowing in the wind. The sculpture stands out in the heart of Azadi Square, the epicentre of the 1979 Islamic Revolution and a key venue for protesters in the wake of the 2009 presidential elections.
Iranian graphic designer Jalz has drawn the iconic Matisse dancers – “the epitome of freedom” – thriving across the Azadi (“Freedom”) Tower, one of Tehran’s most recognisable 20th-century landmarks. Jalz wanted to complete the sense of freedom for the female body. The illustration also features the motto of the protest: Women, Life, Freedom.
Iranian visual artist Shirin Neshat created the Woman Life Freedom digital art piece in London’s Piccadilly Circus and Pendry West Hollywood in Los Angeles. Organised by the digital art platform Circa, the artwork highlights Iran’s deteriorating human rights situation. A time-limited print by the artist is also available via Circa, with 50% of proceeds donated to the New York-based organisation Human Rights Watch.