How art is amplifying the Iran protesters’ demands for “women, life, freedom!”

Chicago — With every stroke of her brush, Roya Karbakhsh paints a narrative about girls, life, and freedom. The 35-year-old informed CBS News that in her native nation of Iran, she did not have the confidence to create works of art depicting girls posing proudly with their hair displaying.

“As a woman, I wasn’t able to show my hair and my body over there… I would always ask myself, ‘Why?'” she mentioned. “So, I try and talk through my paintings… women can be free and do whatever they want.”

Karbakhsh mentioned that in the Islamic Republic of Iran, she may solely show work of males, not girls.

“The first thing the regime wants to do to women is to control a woman’s body,” she mentioned. “They don’t want to give women freedom. It’s scary for them.”

Iranian artist Roya Karbakhsh works on a portray in her studio in Chicago, Illinois.

CBS News

Since transferring to Chicago 5 years in the past, Karbakhsh has portrayed womanhood exactly as she wishes.

Her newest work has been impressed by the girls and ladies who’ve led the widespread protests raging throughout her homeland. The unrest, the most critical challenges Iran’s Islamic cleric rulers have confronted since they got here to energy in 1979, was sparked by the demise of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran’s “morality police” on September 16.

Since then, girls have been casting off their obligatory headscarves in public and main chants of “Woman, life, freedom!” At the identical time, anti-regime art, usually bearing the identical slogan, is showing on partitions. Fountains have been dyed the coloration of blood, and protest songs have gone viral on-line.

The most profitable of these musical protests has been a track known as “Baraye,” which suggests “for the sake of.” Singer Shervin Hajipour based mostly the lyrics on an outpouring of tweets by Iranians, voicing their very own causes for becoming a member of the demonstrations: “For the sake of dancing in the streets… the shame of poverty… for a normal life… and often, for woman, life, freedom!” 

Shervin – Baraye | شروین – برای by
Shervin on

 A video of Hajipour singing his track was considered 40 million occasions in lower than 48 hours, making Baraye the most viral tune to ever come out of Iran — and an unofficial anthem of the protests.

Speaking on situation of anonymity resulting from worry of retaliation from the regime, one school scholar in Tehran informed CBS News that the lyrics made her cry.

“Some are so personal,” the younger girl informed us. “That shows how much our personal lives have been controlled all these years. We didn’t have any privacy. We didn’t have the right to sing, to speak up, to wear what we want. Can you imagine that?”

The track has resonated round the world, even being carried out by Coldplay alongside exiled Iranian actor Golshifteh Farahani. It has additionally been sung at latest rallies, from Berlin to Los Angeles, held in solidarity with Iran’s protesters.

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Iranian expats have come out for these rallies in pressure, together with actor Tara Grammy, who is aware of the phrases to Baraye by coronary heart.

“It resonated with every single one of us,” she informed CBS News. “Those reasons are also why there are so many Iranian immigrants in the diaspora, and they’re all the reasons why we’re standing up now.” 

Iranian authorities have lengthy tried to “silence art,” together with the track Baraye, as a result of “it’s the voice of the hearts of the people,” Grammy mentioned, including: “They can silence artists, they can’t silence art.”

The hardline regime has lengthy censored music, art and tradition.

Just months in the past, it launched its personal anthem, “Hello, Commander,” geared toward Iranian youngsters, in reward of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“It’s ironic that the government really tried to colonize the young people’s minds and now it has been replaced by one guy singing a song into a camera,” mentioned Ahmad Sadri, a sociology professor at Lake Forest College in Illinois, referring to Hajjipour. Sadri mentioned artists in Iran now have a possibility “to express themselves and to chime in with this revolution.”

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But standing up or talking out inside Iran is extremely dangerous.

Hajjipour was detained for days after his track went viral, and mates of outspoken dissident rapper Toomaj Salehi say he is being tortured in jail after his arrest on October 29.

“We are so worried about Toomaj, because he hasn’t been able to communicate with this family, and the regime of Iran has proven many times that it doesn’t tolerate criticism and treats its opponents with extreme violence,” mentioned Negin, Salehi’s good friend and social media coordinator, who requested CBS News to not use her final title for safety causes.

“He’s a singer,” she informed CBS News, “Rap is for protesting, and he was singing about social issues. The only thing he did was to stand by the people [of Iran].”

“There are still thousands of people in the streets loudly saying that they don’t want this regime,” she added. “He always said that the streets are ours, and they cannot take them from us.”

Another rapper, Kurdish Iranian musician Saman Yasin, who has written protest songs and posted help for the anti-regime protests on social media, has been charged with “waging war against God.” That cost can carry the demise penalty.

Yasin and Salehi are amongst the estimated two dozen musicians and actors now imprisoned in Iran, the rights group Human Rights Activists in Iran informed CBS News.

With extra freedom to create, Iranian singers, artists, and actors exterior the nation, together with Karabakhsh, try to amplify the voices of these they left behind.

“You deserve to have a freedom,” she mentioned, addressing her fellow Iranians. “And you are right to fight for that.”

She needs them to know they are not alone.

Baraye has been submitted for a Grammy Award in a brand new class this year, the “best song for social change.”

The Recording Academy says it has obtained tens of 1000’s of nominations for the track from members of the public. It plans to announce its nominees subsequent Tuesday.

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