New exhibition at the Kelowna Art Gallery features timely works by Persian-Canadian women

Iran in focus at art gallery

Cindy White

The ongoing protests in Iran are in the spotlight with a new exhibition at the Kelowna Art Gallery.

We Are Countless' features works from two Persian Canadian Women–Reyhan Yazdani and Nasim Pirahadi.

“This has been a fight that has been going on for so many years, led by mostly women in different forms. But this time I think we are seeing it differently. We are seeing it more present on the street or we are seeing it louder,” says Yazdani, who is an instructor at Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver.

The name of the exhibit comes from a piece of art by Pirhadi, that depicts a tapestry of figures in varying states of protest. She says it’s a reflection of the political unrest in Iran and is a direct response to the in-custody death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested for not allegedly not wearing her hijab according to the rules of the Islamic Republic.

Curator Christine May says that the gallery knew that it was an important issue to bring forward to the public in Kelowna.

One of Yazdani’s pieces called ‘The Project of Unification Has Failed' includes images of her mother, her sister and herself.

“It just references the dress code for women in Iran and how it really tries to unify or, you know, remove a sense of identity or individual presence in the society,” she explains.

To show support for the protesters in Iran a human chain will form outside the Kelowna Art Gallery to kick off the exhibit, which is co-sponsored by Mehrsa Maali Artful Real Estate and Naze Khajavi of Re/Max Kelowna.

“On Saturdays, there have been large gatherings of people who are passionate about the political and social issues that are developing in Iran. This weekend, they’ll be gathering in front of the gallery and, for those who are interested, they can come back to the gallery free of charge and visit the exhibition,” says May.

‘We are Countless’ runs from January 21 to April 16, 2023. The Kelowna Art Gallery is located at 1315 Water Street.

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