A Thread of Resilience and Revolution

A spotlight on Sepehr Badiei artwork.

As summer renders to fall, the streets of London have been filled with a compelling poster campaign that invites passersby to pause and ponder. Titled “Woman Life Freedom,” in collaboration with UNCLE,  queer artist Sepehr Badiei showcased an evoking narrative of resilience and unity through their unique art project, dedicated to women’s empowerment.

This series seeks to shine a spotlight on the unwavering strength of women, not only in Iran but also around the world, where oppression against women remains widespread. The photographs celebrate the potential and power of community, capturing the essence of female strength through a diverse array of subjects and motifs.

Marking the tragic anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death a year later, at the hands of the ‘morality police’ in Iran, a poignant reminder of gender apartheid is still haunting the nation of Iran. Artist Badiei, inspired to create awareness and pay homage to the strength of women, is running this campaign as a profound response to the gender apartheid experienced by Iranian women.

Sepehr Badiei’s journey, a testament to their own resilience, took them from Iran during the revolution to eventually finding refuge in New Zealand as a status holder. Leaving school at just fourteen, Badiei followed their passion for hairdressing, which has now become a central component of their artistic practice. Their work revolves around collecting hair from women and transwomen worldwide, transforming it into otherworldly installations that symbolise a resolute belief in equality and avant-garde aesthetics.

Therefore using hair as their primary medium, Badiei addresses the recent ban on hair and beauty salons in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime, highlighting the beauty and provocation inherent in the symbol of hair.

In their photographic series, seen through the lens of Morgan White, the artist finds their inspiration in two key motifs from Persian culture. The images of Sarah Q, in hues of blue, embody the cypress tree, representing the tree of life and reincarnation. Her serene yet powerful presence speaks to the collective possibilities of global female unity. The Fire images, featuring model and dancer Dafni Krazoudi, symbolise the ability of women to rise from the ashes, like a phoenix, even in the face of oppression, defying tyranny and persecution, drawing from the purity associated with Zoroastrianism and the holy fire of the Assyrian civilization.

A Thread of Resilience and Revolution

Artist: Sepehr Badiei / @badieisepehr

Words: Jyothsana Selvam / @jyothsanaaa

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