What is perfectly clear to me is that there are few women funkier than the girls populating Iran right now. I don’t know why that is, maybe because there are more of them than men, they educate themselves, often no matter what, they want more, they fight more, they seem to be hungrier. In short, they simply refuse to accept their lot.
I have seen some incredible artwork in Iran which reflects this spirit and was lucky enough to see the work of Elnaz Farajollahi at Etemad Gallery in Tehran.
Elnaz’s work exemplifies the loud resilient voice of the new wave of Iranian feminism. When I see it, I always end up singing Bad Girls by MIA in my head, in loop. On some level it is no longer about hijab, child bearing or becoming an intellectual equal to men. It is about being a woman (with all the primal warrior instincts) and loving it. Working it. Being it.
In the series Reading the Stars, Elnaz paints fur and animal prints, she scatters glitter on her canvas surfaces, her sexy beast characters are urban, funky and wear hoodies. One wonders, who are these reoccurring creatures? Are they her, or are they the me I would want to be?
In her series A Historical Geography, Elnaz broadens her lens, placing her characters inside a map of Tehran. Each tells its own story, but the series is beautifully unified by her artistic vocabulary. Profound and direct. She leaves no room for query.
Has the feminist struggle in Iran made it finally OK to be a woman inside and out – with all its glory?
In my opinion it is fantastic to see artists embracing loving a little, living a little and simply being fabulous. Elnaz does this with suggestive charm. This artist inspires me to embrace the funky woman inside and let it all out. With a smile and a wicked twinkle in her eye she ushers us down a very funky urban rabbit hole.
Elnaz, this one is for you: MIA Bring the Noize