Neda Aghasoltan

In 2009 Iran had a presidential election, in which people voted for one of the reformist candidates, but when the election results were announced, the conservative candidate had won. Millions of people marched in protest. The government responded by shooting and killing protestors. A video of a young woman named Neda Aghasoltan came out, who was shot dead in the middle of the crowd, bleeding from her mouth and nose as her friend shouted “Neda Naro” meaning “Neda, don’t go”. She became the symbol of the movement as Mahsa Amini is today’s. A list of people who were killed or had committed suicide after being released from prison came out.
I felt compelled to tell their stories and honor them. I looked at Victorian era mourning jewelry, and decided to make each of them a brooch. I used copper, enamel, and decal transfer to create their portraits. I displayed them as an installation, with black ribbons for those without a photo, and their stories printed on small signs underneath it.

I was born in Tehran, Iran. I was 5 years old when my dad moved to the United States to provide a better life for us, as he had predicted that life under the Islamic Republic would become more and more difficult over time. It took about 5 years before we could join him in California. I have been living here since.

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