Columbia, S.C. – The Columbia Museum of Art presents Woman, Life, Freedom: An Evening on the Art of Protest, an evening of art and activism in conjunction with the exhibition Reverent Ornament: Art from the Islamic World, on Thursday, April 27, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Free with membership or admission, the program focuses on Iranian culture and the current women’s rights movement and features diasporic artists and scholars living in Columbia.
“This museum has been given the opportunity to present art from the Islamic world, in an exhibition that showcases more work from Iran than anywhere else, so I thought it was important to provide space for local Iranian Americans to give voice to what is currently happening there,” says CMA Manager of Engagement Wilson Bame. “I’m extremely excited to be working with these artists, who are very distinct yet very in sync with each other, to highlight their fine work while also giving our visitors a chance to learn more about and maybe participate in the Woman. Life. Freedom. movement.”
The geographical representation in Reverent Ornament: Art from the Islamic World is broad, with art included from regions as far west as Egypt, and as far east as India. The country with the greatest number of items in the exhibition is Iran, a place with thousands of years of cultural history. Presently, Iran is on the minds of many as protests continue in cities throughout the country and across the world following the death of Iranian citizen Mahsa Amini, who died last September while in custody after being arrested by the government’s guidance patrol or “morality police” for “improperly” wearing a hijab. Chanting “Woman. Life. Freedom.,” many people of Iran and their international allies protest the ill treatment of its citizens, especially women, under the rule of the present regime and fight to bring equality to their home nation.
Attendees are encouraged to visit Reverent Ornament to view the art that inspired the program before gathering in the CMA Theater for a short historical recalling of Iran’s most recent histories and a panel discussion led by USC language professor Farzad Salamifar. A pop-up exhibition in the Reception Gallery features the work of three Iranian American women artists, all affiliated with the USC School of Visual Art and Design: designer and associate professor Meena Khalili, visual artist and adjunct professor Nakisa Beigi, and multimedia artist and MFA student Nina Rastgar. These artists will be present throughout the program and available for questions and discussion. The evening ends on Boyd Plaza with the chalk-stenciling of protest phrases in Farsi, Kurdish, and English.
Thursday, April 27 | 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. | Galleries and bar open at 6:00 p.m. | Panel discussion 6:30 – 7:00 p.m. | Pop-up exhibition at 7:00 p.m. | Free with membership or admission | Cash bar