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Thesis Defence: Zoorkhaneh: A Whisper of Empowerment in Iran’s Gender Struggle

July 20, 2023 at 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

Nasim Pirhadi, supervised by Samuel Roy-Bois, will defend their thesis titled “Zoorkhaneh: A Whisper of Empowerment in Iran’s Gender Struggle” in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts.

An abstract for Nasim Pirhadi’s thesis is included below.

Defences are open to all members of the campus community as well as the general public. Please email samuel.roy-bois@ubc.ca to receive the zoom link for this defence.


My work explores the conflicts surrounding women’s inequality in Iran. In my artwork I use material transformation, installation art, cultural and symbolic references as methods through which I reflect on women’s problems in Iran. Iranian women are struggling to establish their status in a highly patriarchal society. This struggle, alongside the looming specter of violence they are subjected to as retaliation for resisting their oppression, creates an unrelenting fear that, no matter how hard they fight, all their efforts may be wasted at any moment. There is a Persian proverb that best articulates this fear in relation to my work: whatever I weave is unraveled again. (Soheili 184)

Similarly, as fabric that can be unwoven, I create fragile networks of intertwined ideas and materials in order to represent women’s vulnerability in Iran and the fearfulness they have no choice but to live with every day. In creating vulnerable structures subject to material disruption, I symbolically explore women’s constant underlying terror, their lack of independence, and the material challenges that fill the space of their absent rights to emphasize the tangible or practical challenges that women face and refers to the physical, real-world consequences and obstacles that women encounter as a result of their marginalized status. Regarding crime and punishment, personal freedoms (employment and travel), and legal status (marriage, divorce, and inheritance), Iranian law does not consider women equal citizens. This kind of systemic violence is a shared and disruptive experience every Iranian woman faces. As an Iranian woman myself, I forcibly create space to tell the stories of those of us who live through the reality of this oppression. Whilst all my work is in some way reflective of this ongoing struggle, certain aspects of my thesis project focus on the current unrest unfolding in response to “the murder of a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian Jina Mahsa Amini, who was violently detained, brutalised, and killed by the morality police for not sufficiently covering her hair under the compulsory hijab.” (Ghadery)


July 20, 2023
9:00 am - 1:00 pm

Additional Info

Registration/RSVP Required
Yes (see event description)
Event Type
Thesis Defence
Arts and Humanities, Research and Innovation
Alumni, Community, Faculty, Staff, Families, Partners and Industry, Students, Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associates