Sepehr Badiei’s art celebrates the resilience of Iranian women [@badieisepehr]

Sepehr Badiei’s art celebrates the resilience of Iranian women [@badieisepehr]

‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ is the Kurdish slogan that Iranian women popularised globally following the death of Jina (Mahsa) Amini in 2022 by the hands of the police. 

Visual artist Sepehr Badiei’s latest collection uses the slogan as a starting point to explore the strength and resilience of Iranian women in a series of surrealist photographs. 

Badiei is an East London-based artist of Iranian-Egyptian heritage. Their family courageously left Iran during the revolution embarking on a journey taking them to Pakistan and eventually settling in New Zealand. 

In this series, Badiei draws from ancient Persian cultural traditions to celebrate the power of female collectivity. In order to achieve this, she relies on an unexpected medium: hair. After collecting hair from women globally, they incorporate it in their artwork with a mission of celebrating its symbolism of beauty and provocation.

In partnership with wildposting company UNCLE, Sepehr Badiei has released a special poster campaign that was released in multiple outdoors location across London, showcasing the artist’s mesmerising work. In an exclusive interview, they sat down with GUAP to discuss the creative process behind the campaign. 

Image Credit: Sepehr Badiei; Photography by Morgan White

GUAP: What was your journey into becoming an artist? 

SEPEHR: It all began in my childhood. We didn’t have much when we escaped to Pakistan so we had to be creative and make our toys. Over time I’ve found a sense of purpose and fulfilment in self-expression and build connection with others through art. 

GUAP: Why was it important to create this work?

SEPEHR: I remember at five years old watching the restrictions and oppressive pressure directed towards women in Iran and realising the injustice behind it. This was during the 1980s when the Islamic Revolution Committee, often referred to as the “morality police”, enforced exceptionally strict rules. I remember my mum yearning to be free and I remember how, despite it all, women stood side by side with strength. I wanted to celebrate that.

GUAP: What would you like to achieve next?

SEPEHR: I’m working on a heavy project centred on climate change and the future of fashion, still inputting my signature style of humour. 

Image Credit: Sepehr Badiei; Photography by Morgan White

Discover more from GUAP’s Arts and Culture section here.