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Reliving Thousands of Suppressed Collective Memories 

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After the 1979 revolution in Iran, a dark chapter unfolded with the systematic execution of political and social activists, as well as religious minorities. The newly established Islamic Republic, under the leadership of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, pursued a harsh crackdown on dissenting voices and ideological opponents. This included intellectuals, journalists, students, workers, and members of various political groups who voiced opposition to the regime's policies. Some women were even pregnant at the time of their execution, while many of the victims were youths under the age of 18, some as young as 13 years old. It is important to acknowledge the harrowing reality that these executions were not limited by age or circumstance, with the regime's oppressive measures sparing no one. These repressive acts created an atmosphere of fear and suppression, silencing the voices of the younger generation who held hopes and dreams for a better future but were tragically cut short in the prime of their lives. The executions were not limited to specific demographics but extended to individuals from different walks of life, emphasizing the regime's determination to suppress dissent and stifle the voices of those who dared to challenge its authority. Additionally, religious minorities such as Baha'is, Christians, and Sufis faced persecution and discrimination, with many subjected to imprisonment, torture, and execution based on their faith. These repressive measures created an atmosphere of fear and suppression, stifling freedom of expression and violating basic human rights in the country.

In my artwork, I have undertaken a profound and poignant endeavor to honor the memory of the victims affected by the execution of political and social activists, as well as religious minorities in Iran, after the 1979 revolution. Through a meticulous act of remembrance, I have inscribed the names of some thousands of known victims who suffered under the oppressive regime. It is crucial to acknowledge that the actual number of victims far surpasses this count, as countless lives were tragically lost during that tumultuous period. Tragically, many of these murdered individuals were clandestinely buried in unknown graves, depriving their families of the opportunity to properly mourn their loss. Honouring these lives lost and amplifying their silent voices, Reliving Thousands of Suppressed Collective Memories engages in an act of belated mourning and illuminates the ongoing violations suffered by the people of Iran following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, striving to raise awareness of these profound injustices. By initiating this project, my intention is not only to pay homage to those who perished but also to forge a connection between their struggle for freedom and the ongoing Woman-Life-Freedom movement. This movement represents a collective fight for freedom and equality, encompassing individuals of all genders, backgrounds, and beliefs. Linking it to the Woman-Life-Freedom Revolution, my work urges for an end to the ongoing execution of individuals and advocates for the preservation of lives. This living artwork serves as a memorial and a powerful reminder that the pursuit of freedom and justice is a shared responsibility for everyone.


The text-based artwork installed at the Red Head Gallery is intricately linked to the installation showcased in front of Kitchener City Hall. In the installation at the city hall, I employed the captivating Moqarnas pattern as a visual representation of my spatial memories. Each piece of the Moqarnas pattern holds a memory, and each memory carries a pain. Multidimensional approach, I aspire to foster a deeper understanding and empathy for the victims' struggles while highlighting the interplay between personal recollections and collective historical events.

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Photo Credit: Bangishimo

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