Woman Life Freedom event shows solidarity with Iranians through art

Over 100 members of the MSU community gathered to show solidarity with the people of Iran on Friday at the Broad Art Museum. The event, called “Woman Life Freedom,” featured music and performance art that expressed the feelings of the Iranian people under oppressive ruleegime.

The event was organized by Assistant Professor of Graphic Design Parisa Ghaderi, who felt it was her duty to show solidarity with the people in her homemy country.

“(It’s important to me) because first, I’m a woman, second, I’m from Iran,” Ghaderi said. “I’m just trying to pay my dues as a fellow citizen, but I think it’s important because we’re not there. We are not fighting with them and I think that… this is the least action we can take to strengthen their struggle, their protest. They are not voiceless but should be hear.”

As an artist, Ghaderi decided that art and performance would be most effective in creating “an outlet for thisshoot.”

“I think I’m an artist and that’s my superpower,” Ghaderi said. “So I thought maybe because we’re bombarded with all the news and all these statistics about what happened, all these horror stories coming out – I thought maybe this could be a nice visual representation of what’s going on and you could be more effective and impactful because sometimes seeing is stronger than reading and it stays with you and people can judgelate.”

The art presented at the event included traditional Iranian music performed on Iranian instruments and orchestral instruments, as well as interpretive dance. One of the musicians was Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Mohsen Zayernuri.

Zayernuri said the event was important because it was an opportunity to create a conversation about human rights violations in Iran. He said these honest conversations between Iranians, international students and people from the US are the most important part of this a project.

“Perhaps the most important goal of the whole project is to have another way to communicate, not through the media, not through the regime’s propaganda, but rather to be heard as ordinary people of Iran who are now living here,” ZaiErnuri said.

Zayernuri said he was particularly compelled to have these conversations because he is also from Iran. Now that he lives in the U.S., Zayernuri said he has the freedom to speak out while Iranians at home are silenced. And he said the most effective way for him to speak is through art.

Zayernouri is also involved in the selection of the music, which is chosen based on the sense of grief and energy in each piece. He thought that by choosing this music, he could tell the Iranian struggle most oftencuratorial.

Many audience members enjoyed the music selection, including mechanical engineering PhD student Kian Kalan, an audience member from Iran. Callan was moved by the image of striking back against this an oppressor.

“I cried,” Callan said. “The performances were really, really successful in conveying the message of pain and anger and just being brave in difficult circumstances and difficult times. I was really touched and moved by all (the dancers’) little mstoves.”

This reaction is exactly what Ghaderi hoped the event would provoke. After the final performance, Ghaderi said her mission as an artist was accomplished and she was also inspired to continue her job.

“I hope we can see the coming of peace,” Ghaderi said. “Not only Iran, but all countries that are fighting and fighting for their freedom. I think until that day we have to keep this momentum going and we have to move forwardard.”

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