‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ a new public exhibition in partnership with UNCLE

Sepehr Badiei, an artist of Iranian-Egyptian heritage, is based in East London. Their family made the courageous decision to leave Iran during the revolution. They embarked on a journey that took them to Pakistan before eventually finding a new home in New Zealand as a refugee status.

‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ or ‘Woman, Life, Liberty’ is a popular political Kurdish slogan used in both the Kurdish independence and democratic confederalist movements. The slogan became a rallying cry during the protests which occurred in Iran as a response to the death of Jina Amini.

With this series of photographs, the artist aims to shine the spotlight on the resilience and strength of women in Iran and beyond. In a world where oppression against women is widespread, the photographs celebrate the potential and the power of community. The series captures the essence of female strength through an array of subjects and motifs.

The street campaign will feature four striking images representing two women and references to Persian culture: Fire and The Cypress Tree. The blue-tone images featuring model Sarah Q embody the cypress tree, which is revered in Persian culture as the representation of the tree of life and reincarnation. Her serene power radiates from the images and speaks to the collective possibilities of the unity of women globally.

The Fire images feature model and dancer Dafni Krazoudi representing fire, which is linked to purity in the religion of Zoroastrianism. She harnesses the symbols of several ancient Persian traditions and the holy fire for the Assyrian civilization. The image speaks to the power of women and their ability to rise from the ashes, like a phoenix, even in the face of oppression.

Sepehr Badiei is a queer artist who includes an unusual medium in their work – hair collected from women and transwomen from all over the world. Hair is a symbol of beauty and provocation, and takes on a new meaning in light of the recent ban of hair and beauty salons in Afghanistan under the shadow of the Taliban regime.

This series of photographs speaks to the collective power of women, reminding us that we are not alone in our struggles. These images showcase the beauty and potential of female strength and the importance of community in the fight against oppression. The use of hair as a medium celebrates the beauty and provocation of women and transwomen, while the use of Persian culture speaks to the rich history of female strength in the region.

‘Woman Life Freedom’ serves as an ode to female strength, capturing the essence of the resilience of women and their collective capacity to overcome the hurdles life throws their way. It is a reminder of the beauty that lies in the strength within us and the importance of celebrating it.

Badiei states: “I want to combat one-note Western conceptions of Iranian women, linking the people of my homeland to the rest of the world and shepherding the culture into a modern place, in an effort to shift the focus onto the beauty of stories of female strength.”

A tribute to Afghan woman through challenging times under the shadow of the Taliban

The curse ( nefrin )

In a world where beauty parlours are banned
Why restrict the freedom to express
Why deny her rights, her choices, her flair?
New life restrictions, a path to despair.
For each strand of hair, life’s whip will sting,
Barred from her love and tender touch it will bring.

Bound by rules of vice and virtue,

Freedom lost , future unknown

remember , resilience will rise,
Seeking liberation, where beauty never dies.
with these unjust deeds,
You risk burning in the fire of hell
you will see .

Her glow illuminates
soaring above
in dreams she’s chanting
Woman life freedom 🕊️

آیا میفهمید دارید چه میکنید؟ چرا آزادی بیان را محدود میکنید در این دنیایی که زیبایی های زیادی ممنوع است.
چرا حقوق، حق انتخاب و استعدادهای او را انکار میکنید؟
بدانید محدودیتهای زیاد در زندگی مسیری هستند برای نابودی.
از بین بردن هر تار موی او امکان عشق و لمس ملایم را از بین میبرد.
به یاد داشته باشین که از این آزادی از دست رفته و این آینده نامعلوم ، مقاومت بوجود میاد و آزادی بر میخیزد.
شما خواهید دید که با این اعمال ناعادلانه در آتش خواهید سوخت و از همان آتش، این زن درخشش و روشنایی می‌گیرد تا به اعلی برسد و شعر زن زندگی آزادی را میخواند.

SEPEHR BADIEI @badieisepehr


MAKEUP JINNY KIM @jinny_mua & KEVIN CORDO @kevin.cordo
FASHION MAXIMILIAN RAYNOR @maximilianraynor SEBASTIEN KWOK @sebastienkwok
SHANNEN MARIA SAMUEL @shannenmariasamuel
SHOES NATACHA MARRO @natachamarro &
LUCA BOSANI @luca_bosani
RETOUCHING HELEN BYKOVA @helen_bykova_retoucher
CGI ART PAULA JAKUBIAK @paula_creative_studio
& AI HUI @cuiaihui
POEM SEPEHR BADIEI @badieisepehr

For more information email withsep@gmail.com
or visit Instagram @badieisepehr