Julie Grist: Women Life Freedom

by | Nov 4, 2022

“Women – Life – Freedom”  – the  slogan chanted in Iran in September 2022 over the killing of 22 year old Masha Amini by Iran’s military police for improperly wearing her head covering – has not only charged the Iranian public to challenge their government but has also spread over the world with women cutting their hair in solidarity and support for the Iranian cause.

I recently completed two paintings that speak to Iranian women’s fight to combat the extremely patriarchal laws of Iran that segregate all women as second-class citizens, enforcing strict gender lines, forbidding women to be in the public without the head-covering hijab, and limiting women’s rights to work, driving, public events and so much more.

I had the good fortune to visit Iran just before the 1980 revolution that ushered in the Islamic Republic in Iran. I found the Iranian people to be extremely bright, warm and welcoming, inquisitive and thoughtful. I remember being  spontaneously invited into the home of a family who welcomed me to their backyard for tea and small sweets, nestled under their branches of their apricot orchard.  I will never forget their generosity and warmth.

I paint regularly with a group of artists based in Los Angeles but gathered from around the world.  In weekly studio sessions  we paint in our own studios but share the time, our work and get feedback from fellow painters in LA, London or Palm Springs. Julio Panisello, the ‘Dream Alchemist’ for Roofless Painters, proposed we paint images from photographs of women in Iran and around the world who cut their hair in support of the women’s cause in Iran. I’m happy to share my paintings here.

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