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08.03.2024 - 01.06.2024

I am

Group exhibition

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If women in a society are not free, no one is free. Everyone should realize this.

Maryam Yazdani

Compulsory wearing of a headscarf, not being allowed to go to school, not being allowed to study, being married off, these are restrictions imposed on women by men by existing social systems. If women are not free to make their own choices, if they do not have the right to self-determination, there is gender inequality. It is still not always easy for women to get into the same positions, be treated equally and be taken as seriously as men. Gender inequality often leads to oppression, persecution and violence. Women fight for freedom and equality to pave the way for future generations. So that they can study, work and live their lives in complete freedom.

The exhibition 'I am' shows, through photography, video and texts, personal stories of women who make themselves heard from a position of gender inequality: portraits of powerful women whose actions initiate an awareness process about gender inequality and violence against women.

These are women in Southwest Asia (Iran, Syria, Kurdistan, Turkey, Afghanistan, Bangladesh) and Egypt who are oppressed as a result of a traditional society. The exhibition is (co-) curated by Eindhoven-based photographer Maryam Yazdani from Iran.

One or a few works by each photographer are shown from larger series about women who have suffered from gender inequality. Each time, one or more portraits were chosen of women who have taken action in one way or another to resist the situation they find themselves in. The women who appear in the spotlight show their resilience after (traumatic) experiences. They are powerful women who are trying to make something of their lives again. By showing the portraits we draw attention to the problem of oppression of women. By showing works from different series, we want to show that the problem does not only arise from religious motives, but also from political and cultural views. Gender inequality is passed on from generation to generation.

The title 'I am' refers to the protest action that arose worldwide after the 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman Jina Mahsa Amini was arrested by the moral police in Iran in September 2022 because she wore her headscarf too loose and had to pay for it with death. Women all over the world showed solidarity, took to the streets and chanted 'Woman, life, freedom', cut off a lock of their hair and took selfies 'I am' (Jina Mahsa Amini).

However, 'I am' also refers to statements by William Shakespeare, 'I think, therefore I am', and René Descartes, 'Cogito ergo sum', or 'I think, therefore I am'.

The exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Eindhoven-based photographer Maryam Yazdani from Iran. Her own work will also be part of the exhibition. She investigates social problems with her camera. In the exhibition she shows the self-portrait 'I am ..... (Jina Mahsa Amini)' (2022) and a short video 'Ignored. Gender Inequality' (2018) with her work with which she achieved 2nd place in the Keep an Eye Award incentive prize (video Yannick van de Graaf). The self-portrait is shown together with a poem by Gerry Toenders from Oirschot about freedom for women.

In addition, there is work in 3D on show by visual artist Gilda Wilpstra Gouhari, also from Iran, and now living in Assen, in which she incorporated photos of Maryam Yazdani. She also added the words 'women, life and freedom' in different languages.

Maryam Saeedpoor (Iran) shows aesthetic portraits of women in Iran who should actually cover their hair.

The artist duo Martin and Inge Riebeek (Breda) are showing video portraits from the series 'The Essential' of women from Southwest Asia (whether refugees or not) who talk about their experiences with gender inequality.

Pictures give an impression of 'Jinwar, the village of free women' in Northern Syria. The village was founded by women who live there with their children. Because of violence against women and oppression, these women chose a form of society without men.

Marielle van Uitert (Vught) photographed women in Bangladesh who survived an acid attack (usually carried out by men). Some women managed to build an independent life.

Lina Geoushy (Egypt) shows portraits of women from the series 'Shame Less'. Texts on the photos testify to these women's experiences with gender inequality.

The Eindhoven visual artist Malina Suliman, originally from Afghanistan, shows an installation.

A series of portraits by a photographer who wishes to remain anonymous shows that police in Iran deliberately aim at demonstrators’ eyes during demonstrations. This happens to women and to men.

Photographer and filmmaker Shaghayegh Moradiannejad, whose project about self-immolation by young Kurdish women (in Iran, Syria and Turkey) as an ultimate form of protest against violence and oppression was previously on display in Eindhoven City Hall, now shows poetic images of women in Afghanistan who long for freedom.

Curators: Maryam Yazdani, Petra Cardinaal and Irma van Bommel.

A side program will be organized during the exhibition.

  • Women come to make embroidery in the exhibition through the Stichting Ik Wil, an Eindhoven volunteer organization for and by residents.

  • A Jineoloji workshop will be organized together with the Eindhoven Kobane working group on April 19, 2024. (For English see below)

Friday March 8 (International Women's Day), 17:00 – 19:00
by Palwasha Banai, autor of ‘Demonen Overwonnen’ (Demons Overcome).

Helen Sear, photography, video art, new media art, artcollector, photography, exhibition, gallery

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