To Mehraneh Atashi ... conceptual jewellery project for "I Care A Lot".
About two weeks ago I came across a call for submission for an international jewellery exhibition, I Care A Lot, Middle East portable discussion, which aim is to "raise the discussion about current issues in the Middle East". As I make jewellery, I thought this was a great opportunity to use my craft skills in a more conceptual way, which context could grow from the present blog. This project happened to make even more sense when I heard that Mehraneh Atashi, Iranian artist I discovered some time ago and really loved, had been arrested with her husband. I was very shocked by this news and felt it had happened to a friend, an artist-sister ...
I have friends from Kurdistan, Iraq, men and women and these past years I have heard a lot about this neighbour country of Iran. The wars, the life there, the weight of traditions and religion but also funny childhood memories and such a nice food ...
I don't watch TV and hardly read any news. It's a deliberate boycott, a choice. I think it is not my "job" to connect myself to the world in that way. I feel I am connected to the world on a deeper and slower moving level. My job as an artist and as a person (but there is no limit between the two) is to keep that deep connection alive and running smoothly. I have to listen to other things, less obvious, not so either to grasp, starting with my own inner life, starting from my dreams, for example.
The work I am undertaking is dedicated to Mehraneh Atashi for the inspiration her work has given me, hoping she is (and all the others are) safe. I wish this work to go further than only "Middle East" issues. This research is for me about masculinity/feminity, acknowledging the power fights that occur between those two qualities.
"Women's body hair removal is strongly normative within contemporary Western culture. Although often trivialised, (...) the hairlessness norm powerfully endorses the assumption that a woman's body is unacceptable if unaltered; its very normativity points to a socio-cultural presumption that hairlessness is the appropriate condition for the feminine body." "Gender and body hair: constructing the feminine woman", abstract extract
From my personal experience, this fact is even more true in Middle East, would it be for beauty and/or hygienic reasons. It could also be said that hairs are aesthetically not tolerable and even men hairiness has to be under control and is not to go over certain limits.