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Woman Life Freedom EDP, English Exhibit Aims to Bridge Gap Between DU and Iran

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Jordyn Reiland

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Jordyn Reiland

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DU Professor Poupeh Missaghi and Ph.D. candidate Mona Moayedi stand in front of exhibit

Ph.D. candidate Mona Moayedi and DU Professor Poupeh Missaghi stand in front of the exhibit.

As a women-led revolution continues following the death of Mahsa “Jina” Amini while in the custody of Iran’s morality police, DU Professors Laleh Mehran and Poupeh Missaghi and Ph.D. candidate Mona Moayedi see a faculty-student collaborative exhibit as one way to bridge the gap between the roughly 7,000 miles that separate Tehran from the university community.

#WomanLifeFreedom: Iran Today is open through March 10 in the Community Commons Gallery, Room 1001. The exhibition features artwork by Emergent Digital Practices (EDP) students, Iranian artists and creative people around the world, as well as documentary materials.

The project features both digital and paper-based mediums as those are the main ways protestors have communicated, Mehran said.

The project came to life with the guidance of Mehran through her Designing Social Good class, as well as Missaghi and Moayedi — all three of which are Iranian women.

Flyer for woman life freedom exhibit, graphic of a woman in black, green and red with the text "Women of Iran"

The location of the exhibit was also an important factor, according to Missaghi, as the Community Commons is a neutral space and a place students frequent.

“We wanted to make sure that this is part of the students’ experience on campus, and they were aware of the movement but also going beyond what the headlines said,” she said.

Missaghi and Moayedi both expressed hope that the exhibit will help faculty, students, staff and other visitors better understand that this is not simply an issue going on thousands of miles away.

“The more international awareness about this, the greater potential for pressure on the regime and potentially limit the cruelty against the people,” Moayedi said. 

One of the reasons why Mehran was drawn to completing the project with this class was because of the students’ demographics — many of the people in Iran who are protesting are the same age and college students.

“Most of the students were not aware of what was going on and I have to say they’ve been so compassionate — it’s a very difficult subject matter,” Mehran said. “It’s been a really powerful educational tool to have this opportunity.”

“Imagine if every university, if all the students were interested in having this dialogue — that would be an incredible power network,” she added.

Creating art can also be a powerful way to reach students, according to Catie Bryant (BA ‘24). 

“As a student, you have the ability to take advantage of these resources and create something like this within the DU community,” Bryant said.

There has also been an “overwhelming” number of men who have protested alongside the women in Iran, Mehran said, which is not often the case.

#WomanLifeFreedom: Iran Today | Join us to learn about the ongoing woman-led revolutionary movement that is inspiring the world. | Feb. 8-March 10, 2023 Community Commons Gallery #1001

EDP student Joe Goodacre (BA ‘23) called the project “eye opening,”, admitting that prior to this exhibition he, like many others in the class, had very little knowledge of what was going on in Iran. 

“I think from this personal experience of learning and understanding the tragedies that are going on, it's just really important for me to be able to use my skills and self-expression to show everybody else what's going on,” he said. 

Ali Graham (MA ‘23), also an EDP student, expressed similar sentiments. 

“Our visual representations can also help resonate with our global peers, if you will, across the world, especially in other communities … Here in our local Denver community and everywhere else,” she said. 

Other EDP artists include: Ethan Houck, Channing Cole, Ilona Kovacs, Seth Divine, Dawn Moffitt, Gabi Ocasek and Sophie Smithgraham.  

The faculty-student collaborative features several events throughout February and early March including:  

• 2-4 p.m. on Feb. 21: Moving: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, Community Commons, Rm 1700 

• 4-6 p.m. on Feb. 22: Collective reading of Iranian literature 

• 2-3:30 p.m. on Feb. 28: Multivocal artmaking 

• 4-6 p.m. on March 1: film screening (Film and location TBA) 

• 12-4 p.m. March 8: Dance performance and closing reception 

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