In Oslo, Norway, on Tuesday, June 13th, 2023, PaykanArtCar, a human rights organization that collaborates with Iranian artists to create art that raises awareness for Iran's human rights abuses, unveiled the second edition of its award-winning PaykanArtCar at the Oslo Freedom Forum. The newly revealed PaykanArtCar, predominantly adorned with female hair as a gesture of solidarity with the 'Woman, Life, Freedom' protests, was crafted by the esteemed multidisciplinary Iranian-Canadian artist Simin Keramati and launched by preeminent Iranian activist Masih Alinejad and Dr. Hiva Feizi, the Executive Director of PaykanArtCar.
PaykanArtCar was founded in 2021 to provide a platform for contemporary Iranian artists. The organization partners with leading Iranian artists to transform iconic Iranian-made Paykan automobiles into canvases for human rights advocacy. The inaugural PaykanArtCar, which saw the organization partner with Iranian LGBTQ+ artist Alireza Shojaian, won the 2022 Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent.
In support of the Woman, Life, Freedom revolution which have shaken the Iranian regime to its core, PaykanArtCar has partnered with Masih Alinejad, recipient of the UN Watch’s International Women’s Rights Award in 2017, and multidisciplinary Iranian-Canadian artist Simin Keramati to develop the second iteration of the PaykanArtCar.
Keramati has created a visually stunning artwork centred on the extensive use of human hair from the Iranian diaspora - a powerful tribute to the Iranian women engaging in civil disobedience by refusing to wear a hijab in the aftermath of the killing of Mahsa Amini.
The car was unveiled on Tuesday then 13th of June outside the Oslo Konserthus in Oslo, Norway.
Commenting on the launch of the second PaykanArtCar, Dr. Hiva Feizi, human rights advocate and co-founder of PaykanArtCar, said:
“The Woman, Life Freedom revolution is a historic moment in the long fight for Iranian women’s rights. Hundreds of thousands of Iranians of every gender, age, religion, and ethnicity have risked their lives to take part in these momentous protests. Tragically, international attention is increasingly diverted elsewhere, leaving these courageous protestors at the mercy of a regime. Through this incredibly impactful new artwork created by Simin Keramati we want to bring the world’s attention back to where it belongs and play our part in galvanising support for the Woman, Life Freedom revolution.”
Iranian journalist and human rights activist Masih Alinejad added:
“PaykanArtCar and Simin Keramati have created something that is both truly arresting and desperately needed. Following the murder of Mahsa Amini, the Islamic Republic’s systematic and brutal oppression of Iranian women finally began to receive the global attention it deserves. The Iranian women are on the frontlines of fighting the gender apartheid regime in Tehran and global solidarity is very important to support their sacrifice. Global community must act. Paykan artwork exists to carry the message of resistance to the international community.
On the announcement, Simin Keramati stated that following:
“The presentation of the hair, face, and body of Iranian women has always reflected the patriarchal nature of the government ruling over Iran. Iranian women have a long history of fighting for their rights and my main goal in this project was to focus on highlighting the active role Iranian women have in challenging the underpinnings of the Islamic Republic’s theocracy. I am excited to unveil this work in dedication to the Woman, Life, Freedom revolution.”
Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, PaykanArtCar CEO and co-founder, stated:
“PaykanArtCar was founded to shine a light on the myriad human rights abuses committed by the Iranian regime and to provide a platform for those voices that the regime seeks to silence. Simin Keramati has created something that viscerally and powerfully communicates the historic importance of the Woman, Life, Freedom revolution, and the sacrifices that are being made to keep the flame of revolution alive. I am thrilled that this ParykanArt will be fittingly unveiled at the 15th rendition of the Human Rights Foundation’s Oslo Freedom Forum, and by the leading luminary of Iranian women’s rights activism, Masih Alinejad.”
The PaykanArtCar unites the talents of contemporary Iranian artists with a beloved symbol of Iranian national pride — the Paykan automobile — to advocate for human rights and dignity in Iran. Periodically, the PaykanArtCar will choose and commission an exceptional Iranian artist to use the vehicle as a canvas to express support for the ongoing struggle in Iran for human rights. The purpose is simple: to use art and a beloved symbol of national pride to promote the rights of all Iranians no matter their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.
For more information, visit paykanartcar.com.
PaykanArtCar Oslo Konserthus , Oslo , Norway - 13 June 2023
00:00 - 00:23 The Oslo Freedom Forum at the Oslo Konserthus
00:23 - 00:30 Artist Simin Keramati
00:30 - 00:35 The PaykanArtCar, curated by artist Simin Keramati
00:35 - 00:37 Activist Masih Alinejad, artist Simin Keramati and PaykanArtCar's Exective Director Hiva Feizi
00:37 - 00:50 The PaykanArtCar at the Oslo Freedom Forum
00:50 - 01:30 PaykanArtCar's Exective Director Hiva Feizi introductory speech
01:32 - 01:46 The unveiling of the PaykanArtCar
01:46 - 04:05 Activist Masih Alinejad speech
04:10 - 06:00 Artist Simin Keramati speech
06:00 - 07:53 Activist Masih Alinejad speech
08:00 - 08:45 PaykanArtCar's Exective Director Hiva Feizi closes speeches