“Power rarely falls within the right hands.”
In the latest threat to the safety and human rights of Iranian girls and women, almost 700 girls, since November, have been poisoned by toxic gas in their classrooms in an apparent attempt to obstruct their access to education. No girls have died, but dozens have suffered respiratory problems, nausea, dizziness and fatigue.
Visual artist and printmaker Aida Wilde references her own experiences of displacement, loss and trauma – having fled Iran during the war with Iraq with her mother and sisters – whilst connecting this with the experiences of countless others.
Her latest powerful large-scale work marks International Women’s Day. In the foreground of Wilde’s wild posted triptych, the hands of her mother and younger sister are raised in iconic gestures of resistance atop marble pedestals – on a monumental magnitude often reserved for celebrating men’s histories.
The bold text etched on the plinths arrests the viewer by invoking a direct call to reflection and action – via slogans reminiscent of Jenny Holzer’s iconic street-based work:
- “Power rarely falls within the right hands”.
- “If you only knew how exhausting it is to be powered by rage”.
- “There can be no Gods walking among us.”
Wilde’s older sister is the eminent Iranian poet Ziba Karbassi. Here, Wilde arms her sister’s hand with a quill, connecting her own street-based public visual intervention to Karbassi’s quiet – but no less powerful – poetic acts of resistance:
- “From everyone/ more than everything/ From all/ More than everyone ever/ I believe in my own chest/ In the moment of the bullet.”
The background to the work is densely woven with the names of just some of the thousands
of women and girls who have been murdered in the struggle against Iran’s oppressive
In acknowledgement of the uprising sparked in 2022 by the unlawful death of Mahsa Amini, the names of Iran’s manifold victims of gender violence rain down softly on Wilde’s plinths, and rise in a ghostly stream from the poppy fields at their base -honouring and humanising the countless women and girls lost to this ongoing state-sanctioned femicide.
“This is the first time that I have incorporated all of my family in one piece of
artwork. From our arms that have loved, lost and silenced, this is for ALL the mothers, sisters, brothers and fathers around the world, who have suffered oppression, violence, injustices and bloodshed. May our tears and suffering not be in vain. May we be united by peace in the fight for justice.” Wilde
Wilde’s street-based triptych can be found on the walls of the cities of London, Bristol and
Manchester for International Women’s Day.
Photo Credit UNCLE