Zeinab Chaichi Raghimi, an Iranian artist and fine arts graduate student, displayed her personal art exhibition called “Echoes of the Voiceless” on April 10 in the George Caleb Bingham Gallery.
This exhibition is a part of Raghimi’s Master of Fine Arts graduation thesis. Having held many art exhibits in different places around the country, Raghimi said this exhibit was technically different from the previous ones.
“This exhibition is a big change for me,” she said. “Previously, I just did some paintings. This time, I do papermaking.”
The installation, “Bewail,” consists of 12 Iranian women’s figures without heads, hands or feet. They are suspended from the ceiling, floating in the room like headless corpses. On the wall, there are broken females’ figures made up of paper pieces cut from the 12 females’ bodies.
“I think showing these figures is a more specific way to do a presentation,” Raghimi said. “These bodies give people a feeling of mourning. It means Iranian women’s voiceless pain. And the pieces (stuck) on the wall are a symbol of 'We Stand Together' and advocate women to stand up and support each other.”
Raghimi said that in Iran, a traditional Islamic male-dominated society, women are weak and less worthy. They are regarded as property of their husbands and family. Without their husbands’ permission, they have even no access to education and places other than Iran.
“I tripped to Iran last year and found issues about identity, abuse, law, gender and women’s rights,” she said. “My goal is to expose these issues to people in America and suggest women get more power in society. Not many Americans know about Iran. Making such a presentation here is a good chance to get people here to know more about Iran. I want to be a connection and bridge between Iranians and Americans, two cultures and two nations.”
Hannah Reeves, director of the George Caleb Bingham Gallery, said the exhibition pushes cultural boundaries and shows the abuse and images hidden underneath the surface of Iranian culture.
Exhibition attendees said they enjoyed learning about Raghimi's inspiration.
“I find artist talks interesting because I get to hear what motivates other people to create arts,” freshman Andrea Hendrix said.
The installations and mixed media two-dimensional works explore the hidden realities at the background of Iranian society through the lens of contemporary conceptual art, which focuses on communicating ideas.
“I’m quite interested in the materials used in the art creation and the messages contained,” sophomore Julie Zielinski said.
Raghimi said that many things were unknown in the future, but she would be dedicated to art creation and making talks around the country.
“I don’t want to put any limitation and I will never refuse any new idea,” she said.
Published as a part of Maneater v. 79, Issue 50
Via The Maneater