How artwork is amplifying the Iran protesters’ calls for for “women, life, freedom!”


Chicago — With every stroke of her brush, Roya Karbakhsh paints a narrative about girls, life, and freedom. The 35-year-old instructed CBS News that in her native nation of Iran, she did not have the boldness to create artistic endeavors depicting girls posing proudly with their hair exhibiting.

“As a woman, I wasn’t able to show my hair and my body over there… I would always ask myself, ‘Why?’” she mentioned. “So, I try and talk through my paintings… women can be free and do whatever they want.”

Karbakhsh mentioned that within the Islamic Republic of Iran, she might solely show work of males, not girls.

“The first thing the regime wants to do to women is to control a woman’s body,” she mentioned. “They don’t want to give women freedom. It’s scary for them.”

Iranian artist Roya Karbakhsh works on a portray in her studio in Chicago, Illinois.

CBS News

Since transferring to Chicago 5 years in the past, Karbakhsh has portrayed womanhood exactly as she wishes.

Her newest work has been impressed by the ladies and ladies who’ve led the widespread protests raging throughout her homeland. The unrest, probably the most critical challenges Iran’s Islamic cleric rulers have confronted since they got here to energy in 1979, was sparked by the dying of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini within the custody of Iran’s “morality police” on September 16.

Since then, girls have been putting off their obligatory headscarves in public and main chants of “Woman, life, freedom!” At the identical time, anti-regime artwork, usually bearing the identical slogan, is showing on partitions. Fountains have been dyed the colour of blood, and protest songs have gone viral on-line.

The most profitable of these musical protests has been a music known as “Baraye,” which implies “for the sake of.” Singer Shervin Hajipour based mostly the lyrics on an outpouring of tweets by Iranians, voicing their very own causes for becoming a member of the demonstrations: “For the sake of dancing in the streets… the shame of poverty… for a normal life… and often, for woman, life, freedom!” 

Shervin – Baraye | شروین – برای by
Shervin on

 A video of Hajipour singing his music was considered 40 million instances in lower than 48 hours, making Baraye probably the most viral tune to ever come out of Iran — and an unofficial anthem of the protests.

Speaking on situation of anonymity resulting from concern of retaliation from the regime, one faculty scholar in Tehran instructed CBS News that the lyrics made her cry.

“Some are so personal,” the younger lady instructed us. “That shows how much our personal lives have been controlled all these years. We didn’t have any privacy. We didn’t have the right to sing, to speak up, to wear what we want. Can you imagine that?”

The music has resonated around the globe, even being carried out by Coldplay alongside exiled Iranian actor Golshifteh Farahani. It has additionally been sung at current rallies, from Berlin to Los Angeles, held in solidarity with Iran’s protesters.

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Iranian expats have come out for these rallies in drive, together with actor Tara Grammy, who is aware of the phrases to Baraye by coronary heart.

“It resonated with every single one of us,” she instructed CBS News. “Those reasons are also why there are so many Iranian immigrants in the diaspora, and they’re all the reasons why we’re standing up now.” 

Iranian authorities have lengthy tried to “silence art,” together with the music Baraye, as a result of “it’s the voice of the hearts of the people,” Grammy mentioned, including: “They can silence artists, they can’t silence art.”

The hardline regime has lengthy censored music, artwork and tradition.

Just months in the past, it launched its personal anthem, “Hello, Commander,” aimed toward Iranian youngsters, in reward of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“It’s ironic that the government really tried to colonize the young people’s minds and now it has been replaced by one guy singing a song into a camera,” mentioned Ahmad Sadri, a sociology professor at Lake Forest College in Illinois, referring to Hajjipour. Sadri mentioned artists in Iran now have a chance “to express themselves and to chime in with this revolution.”

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But standing up or talking out inside Iran is extremely dangerous.

Hajjipour was detained for days after his music went viral, and associates of outspoken dissident rapper Toomaj Salehi say he is being tortured in jail after his arrest on October 29.

“We are so worried about Toomaj, because he hasn’t been able to communicate with this family, and the regime of Iran has proven many times that it doesn’t tolerate criticism and treats its opponents with extreme violence,” mentioned Negin, Salehi’s pal and social media coordinator, who requested CBS News to not use her final title for safety causes.

“He’s a singer,” she instructed CBS News, “Rap is for protesting, and he was singing about social issues. The only thing he did was to stand by the people [of Iran].”

“There are still thousands of people in the streets loudly saying that they don’t want this regime,” she added. “He always said that the streets are ours, and they cannot take them from us.”

Another rapper, Kurdish Iranian musician Saman Yasin, who has written protest songs and posted help for the anti-regime protests on social media, has been charged with “waging war against God.” That cost can carry the dying penalty.

Yasin and Salehi are among the many estimated two dozen musicians and actors now imprisoned in Iran, the rights group Human Rights Activists in Iran instructed CBS News.

With extra freedom to create, Iranian singers, artists, and actors outdoors the nation, together with Karabakhsh, are attempting to amplify the voices of these they left behind.

“You deserve to have a freedom,” she mentioned, addressing her fellow Iranians. “And you are right to fight for that.”

She desires them to know they don’t seem to be alone.

Baraye has been submitted for a Grammy Award in a brand new class this yr, the “best song for social change.”

The Recording Academy says it has acquired tens of hundreds of nominations for the music from members of the general public. It plans to announce its nominees subsequent Tuesday.


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