The MAC Dallas x Joe McCauley Gallery Proudly Present:
Woman, Life, Freedom
Where: The MAC Dallas
The MAC — 1503 S Ervay St, Dallas, TX 75215
When: December 10th – January 7th, 2023
Opening Reception: December 10th, 2022 6 – 9 pm
Closing Reception: January 7th, 2023 6 – 9 pm
THE MAC DALLAS is pleased to announce Woman, Life, Freedom – a group exhibition featuring works by Iranian women artists. The exhibition will be on view December 10th through January 7th, 2023, at the gallery’s main location, 1503 S. Ervay Street. An opening reception will be held Saturday, December 10th from 6 – 9 PM. The gallery is open weekly Wednesday through Saturday, 12 – 5 PM.
Since the 1979 Iranian revolution, and the deposition of former Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Islamic Republic has subjected their citizens to inhumane conditions. Gender apartheid, the unlawful seizure of people and goods, and mass state surveillance have been backed up by the violent Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The unlawful murder of Mahsa Zhina Amini for disobeying morality laws, reignited global coverage on the oppression of Iranian women.
Illinois-based artist, activist and curator, Shahrbanoo Hamzeh, has brought together 30+ Iranian women artists to express the oppression they and others have felt from the Iranian regime. Through art they reclaim a sense of narrative autonomy. Their stories topple the Iranian Regime’s efforts to police and smother counter-narratives. The MAC condemns acts of violence directed towards vulnerable populations and stands with the women of Iran. Amplifying the chants of protestors, Woman, Life, Freedom continues the fight for Iranian women’s freedom.
“Putting together this exhibition was personal for me: it is about who I am, where I am from and what is happening in my country, my home these days. Woman, Life, Freedom has its roots in a previous iteration held last January at Joe McCauley gallery, in Normal, Illinois. Starting as gallery coordinator a year ago, the very first show I curated was about being a woman in Iran. Women who are leading the revolution these days. That exhibition was born for the very same reason the current revolution started: women’s rights. At that point, I had no idea what the future held for us. Inspired by the lack of awareness surrounding the more than four decades of state-sanctioned violence perpetuated by the Islamic Republic against the Iranian people, I hoped I could help gradually change the situation for women in my homeland through art.
On September 16, 2022, a 22-year-old Iranian, Kurdish woman, Mahsa Zhina Amini, was murdered by the Iranian morality police. Amini’s death was the last straw. Across Iran, people flooded the streets chanting “Woman, Life, Freedom.”. During protests, many, including children, have been arrested, killed, tortured, and raped by the regime’s forces. Outside of Iran, the Iranian diaspora took the fight for their homeland, human rights, and freedom—they became the voice for people in Iran.
Woman, Life Freedom brings together information, conversation and visual elements surrounding this huge fight for human rights. 30+ Iranian women artists from the exhibition’s previous iteration will show their work at the MAC. In the new iteration, we incorporate objects from the revolution itself. These include elements like, cut hair, burnt scarves, graffiti and material from social media. These objects illustrate some of the messiness of the revolution, connecting the viewer’s emotions directly with the reality Iranian women experience today. We are inviting everyone to do something and get involved, to see the crimes against humanity that Iran’s ruling regime commits daily and how the problem is everyone’s issue, and it is closer than it looks. If enough people care, change is not out of reach.
I am more of a fighter than an artist these days. I want to make sure the bravery of high school girls in my country can be seen, so it is not in vain. Teenagers are at the forefront of this war, and they are paying in blood for it, but this is all they can do in my country given all the regime’s limitations and oppressions. I want to see them free and thriving, not tortured, sexually abused, and dying by the regime’s forces (Basij and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)), just for wanting basic human rights and bodily autonomy. A girl is not even allowed to exist under Iran’s gender apartheid. They must fight tooth and nail for the simplest things. They are denied a normal life by the government. Under these oppressive circumstances, their fight is Incredibly powerful to see. With this show, we are hoping to add on to their voice.” — Shahrbanoo Hamzah
About the Curator
Shahrbanoo Hamzeh is an Illinois-based artist and curator currently working as a galley coordinator at Joe McCauley Gallery at Heartland Community College. She holds an MFA from Indiana State University (ISU). Prior to this, she received a master’s degree in Painting from Alzahra University, in Tehran, Iran. Her undergraduate degree focused on Iranian Art and Culture from Kashan University, Kashan, Iran.
Her practice focuses on human rights violations in her home country, Iran, especially towards women. She believes it is not easy to be an Iranian woman, not in Iran, nor anywhere else. Her homeland is facing a lot of problems and conflicts these days, which is why her works center around ideas of home, home countries, leaving, loss, safety, longing, and, recently, Iranian women-led revolution.
1503 S Ervay St
Dallas, TX 75215
Open to the public Wed – Sat. 12 – 5 pm
Free entry with a suggested donation of $5
THE MAC MISSION
Founded in 1994, The MAC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organization that stands as an advocate for creative freedom and visual art in all its forms. It supports emerging-to-established local, regional and international artists by offering the opportunity for experimentation and by facilitating a forum for critical dialogue, while promoting inclusivity and diversity as core values.