The group exhibition WOMAN-LIFE-FREEDOM organized by the Iranian Student Association at OCAD University runs from October 17, to October 24, 2022 in the OCAD U Main Building Great Hall – open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day.
The Iranian Student Association officially formed at OCAD U on October 15, 2022, and their first exhibit opened just two days later on October 17, 2022. WOMAN-LIFE-FREEDOM includes an interactive reading space and creation space, paintings, videos, mixed media projects, and sculptures from members of the Association and OCAD U community submissions.
The the Iranian Student Association describes their inspiration and motivation for the exhibit in the opening statement for WOMAN-LIFE-FREEDOM on October 17, 2022:
“Dear peers, faculty, and the administrative committee at OCAD U,
We, Iranian students and Alumni of OCAD U, are thrilled to announce an official association, and we appreciate your presence, support and solidarity.
We would like to begin by expressing gratitude to the Mississauga and Anishinabewaki people, keepers of this land. History will remember how they were treated. As immigrants on this land, most of us fleeing mistreatment and violence, we stand in support of our Indigenous sisters and brothers.
For the past month, Iranians have been protesting for freedom. These protests have been met with unimaginable violence by the state. Mahsa Amini’s name has become a code for our people, our refusal to continue living under a dictatorship. She was immortalised.
The horrors going on in the streets of Iran extend beyond any comprehensible terror any human being should ever be subjected to. The abuse, murder, injustice, and sheer implementation of state violence towards the people of Iran are beyond any scope of verbalization. This is particularly pointed towards the most disenfranchised, marginalised, and vulnerable social groups, namely, women, Kurdish Iranians, the Balouch, Iranian Arabs, Afghan immigrants in Iran, non-muslims, and the LGBTQ+ community who have struggled with and endured a disproportionate share of the darkness and pain these past 4 decades have brought.
For the first time in history, chants for queer rights are shouted in Farsi. Workers stand in unity, notably oil and gas workers. This is also a student movement, as demonstrated by the brave student protests in universities and secondary schools across the country. Meanwhile, our Afghan neighbours fight against the violence towards the Hazara people. Chants for education rights for women and the right to justice and liberty can be heard across the border. The implications of the movement that has unfolded reflect the entire world. The unwavering hope for a free and just tomorrow.
In this dark night, unable to bear the unbearable weight of the pain of losing our children, sisters and brothers, our youth along with our elders, our land, the beautiful piece of poetry that is our motherland, we have come together here to declare our unity and support for the demand for justice and freedom in Iran. Our people are fighting with their bodies. Be their voice. Be our voice. Be the voice for justice and hope. For a brighter future.
Again, we express our appreciation for you all gathering here for this event which marks the opening of our group exhibition dedicated to Iran, which will be taking place Monday, October 17 to Monday, October 24, 2022.
This also marks the establishment of our newly founded Iranian Student Association at OCAD U, supported by alumni and our community.
We hope you join us in the rally as we stand together for student rights.”
Welcoming new members: