Solidarity with the protests in Iran
Students of the Kunsthochschule Kassel set a sign against discrimination and violence against women* in Iran.
For months, protests have been taking place in Iran, carried by the idea of a feminist revolution. "Women*. Life. Freedom." has become the slogan of the Iranian protest movement against the regime, especially since the death of the 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman Jina Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody on September 16, 2022. From underage students to pensioners and other status groups from all walks of life, people in the country are risking their lives as security forces brutally crack down on protesters standing up for democracy and human rights. "What is happening in Iran is feminist world history," emphasizes Gilda Sahebi (see www.boell.de).
The students of the Kunsthochschule Kassel show solidarity with the protesters in Iran. In the last winter semester 2022/23, during the guest professorship of Reza Afisina and Iswanto Hartono (members of the artist collective ruangrupa), the idea for the solidarity calendar project "Women*. Life. Freedom" was born. The project was initiated by Sanne Bickel and Tanja von Gilsa, who are supported by 13 students of Visual Arts, Art History and Aesthetics, and Visual Communication. "With the project I want to set a sign against violence and discrimination based on gender and femininity. Human rights, equality and democracy are not self-evident and have to be fought for again and again. It takes courageous people to stand up for them," explains Bickel. She adds that the former artistic directors of documenta 15 (2022) Reza Afisina and Iswanto Hartono immediately supported the solidarity project from the beginning: "They want to forward our open call to their documenta network and help us realize the printing of the calendar."
The project participants are bringing out a calendar that will feature a work of art each month based on the Iranian women's rights movement's motto "Women*. Life. Freedom." For this purpose, they launched an open call, where artistic contributions can be submitted until the end of April 2023 at the contact email address ruru.livingroom[at]gmail.com. "We hope that images and photos in various aesthetics will be submitted, as well as digital contributions such as films and music. The latter will be accessible via link," Bickel said. So far, Regula Rickert and Dan Perjovschi are among those who have submitted entries. "We have pastel paintings in agitprop style, sketches, photographs from a demonstration and a piece of music. An impressive variety," Bickel enthuses.
After the open call, the submitted works will be curated. The content will be arranged based on the submissions, which will first be viewed and then assigned to the individual months. Bickel says: "We didn't want to narrow the focus with specifications, but to be creatively curatorial with what we receive in terms of contributions." In the next step, the art scholars will write texts about the artists and their works, which can be read on the back of each calendar page. The project collaboration has already resulted in students from different study programmes networking and at the same time gaining an insight into the content of the various areas of work.
The calendar will be printed sustainably on ecological paper. Those involved in the project plan to sell the calendar at this year's Rundgang of the Kunsthochschule Kassel (July 13-16). The proceeds will be donated to an organization like Feminista.Berlin to support women* in Iran. "We are open to collaborations - for example with art institutions or bookstores - and welcome any support that will help the movement 'Women*. Life. Freedom.'," emphasizes Bickel.
Interested parties can get in touch with those involved in the project via e-mail contact address ruru.livingroom[at]gmail.com.
(Text in German: Çiğdem Özdemir)