EAST VILLAGE, N.Y. (PIX11) – Thousands of hair strands are proudly displayed on a wall at an exhibition in New York City in defiance of the Iranian Regime.
The global art project, “Strand For Women,” stands in solidarity with the women of Iran as they fight against the mandatory hijab.
The exhibition is spearheaded by French artist Prune Nourry and is in partnership with FIAF, the French Institute Alliance Francaise. Tatyna Franck is the president.
“[It’s] to help raise voices for women in Iran and for women all around the world who are at-risk,” Franck said. “It’s more important than ever to fight for the rights of women.”
The envelopes the strands were sent in are plastered to the walls with gratitude notes accompanying them and this movement’s motto: Woman, Life, Freedom.
From curly hair to short hair, blonde hair to red hair, women and men of all backgrounds sent their locks to show support from as far as Vancouver, Paris, and Germany. Each strand is identified by first name and city when pinned to the wall. Some were even sent from Iran but chose to remain anonymous.
In-person visitors also cut their hair on-site, including my Iranian parents — even PIX11’s Michelle Ross’ father, which goes to show you don’t need a full head of hair to participate.
Thomas Traun, a visitor, said cutting his hair was a no-brainer.
“I grew up with seven women,” Truan said. “I was the only guy. I do stick up for women. It’s important, so I believe in that.”
The exhibition, located on the ground floor with floor-to-ceiling windows, caught the eye of Stephanie Park, who was walking down the street.
“The fact that we could visually see all women participate and supporting other women, bringing them together, I think, is really special,” Park said after cutting off her own hair and pinning it to the wall.
Four Iranian artists who work with hair are also presented through their music, videos, sculptures and drawings.
Cima Rahmankhah has drawn hair for years and is often asked if it is subconscious.
“Since I grew up in Iran, went to high school [there], I was there until I was 20, [so] maybe covering it and not being able to show it in public, that has an effect on my work for sure,” Rahmankhah said.
On the way out, packets are filled with Pashmak, a Persian sweet spun of sugar threads whose strands – just like the ones on the wall – signify the sweetness of life and freedom.
The exhibit launched on March 8 on International Women’s Day to coincide with the International Women’s Day protests in Iran on March 8, 1979, when Iranian women protested against compulsory hijab shortly after the Iranian Revolution began.
The exhibition is on display until March 15. You do not need to have Iranian roots or be a woman to participate.