WOMAN, LIFE, FREEDOM
Words that resonate in every demonstration. An appeal to women, both Iranian and not. A revolution, in which men fight alongside women who do not surrender. Especially the youth. In a country where much of the population is below the age of 30, girls and boys are fighting against those who want to rule their bodies and democratic lives.
Protests have been going on in Iran for years, especially since the killing of Mahsa Amini, who was arrested for incorrectly wearing her hijab and beaten to death in a police station. Protests have intensified, spreading like wildfire to every area of the globe, and have recently received great recognition with the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Iranian women's rights activist Narges Mohammadi, imprisoned since May 2016.
But while torture, violent repression and intimidation do not stop, a powerful revolution grows, charged with symbols and meaning that affect us all. A battle which Bologna Jazz Festival also wants to join, and wishes to enhance with a small contribution.
This exhibition, which brings together the illustrations of the 2023 Bologna Jazz Festival, thanks to the invaluable collaboration of Hamelin, is one of the initiatives of our festival, which for ten years has asked illustrators of great talent to trace the aesthetics not just of billboards, but of each edition of the Festival as a whole. There have been artists the likes of Altan, Francesca Ghermandi, Vanna Vinci, Filippo Scòzzari, Gianluigi Toccafondo, Manuele Fior, Lorenzo Mattotti and many more.
For the 2023 edition, the task of creating the image of the Festival has been entrusted to the hands of four extraordinary Iranian women: Atieh Sohrabi, Hanieh Ghashghaei, Nazli Tahvili and Roshanak Rouzbehani – internationally active artists, born in Iran and based in Bologna, London, Los Angeles and New York.
Each of them interpreted the images in reference to hair, the symbol of the Iranian revolution – a symbol not exclusive to the most recent protests, as for at least forty years Iranian women have defied the authorities and their apparatuses, such as the “moral police,” by leaving a few centimetres of hair uncovered.
And after Mahsa’s death, as a token of mourning in the Kurdish tradition of sharing grief and dissent against the regime, many women in Iran cut their hair and burned their veils, their hijabs.
Jazz has always been a music of freedom, of revolution, an artistic act in which multiple cultures merge in the name of coexistence. Jazz musicians have often had to fight against discrimination and denied rights.
Jazz stands side by side with our Iranian sisters and brothers.
Bologna Jazz Festival
Hanieh Ghashghaei is an illustrator and author born in Tehran in 1990. She studied graphic design in Iran from 2008 to 2013, and moved to Italy in 2014 to attend the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna, where she received her bachelor's and master's degrees in illustration. From 2014 to present day, she has participated in various group and solo initiatives and exhibitions in Italy and abroad. She has also created animations for various artistic, cultural and film projects in Italy and in the United States. She has illustrated four children's books, including “Il segreto delle gemelle,” written and illustrated by her and published by AnimaMundiEdizioni in Italy in 2022, and “E se la morte fosse un bosco?” illustrated by her and published by AnimaMundi Edizioni in Italy in 2023. She currently lives in Bologna, where she works as a freelance illustrator for personal projects, agencies and magazines in Italy and abroad.
Nazli Tahvili is an Iranian author and illustrator born in 1980 in Tehran. She received her Master’s in Arts specializing in Illustration from the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna, Italy, and graduated in Graphic Design from Azad Art University in Tehran, Iran. Since 2003, she has illustrated 12 children’s books, some of which have been translated and published in several languages. She lives and works in California.
Roshi Rouzbehani is an Iranian freelance illustrator who lives and works in London, UK. Her passion lies in creating editorial, institutional and portrait illustrations for clients around the world. She uses her art as a platform to support social causes, focusing particularly on gender equality, women’s rights and mental health. She has exhibited in several European countries and, in 2020, she published “50 Inspiring Iranian Women,” an illustrated biographical book about 50 extraordinary Iranian women.
Atieh Sohrabi was born (1976) and raised in Tehran and currently lives in New York City. She began her career in 2001 by choosing industrial design as her major at Azad Art University. As she became more familiar with the art world, she decided to pursue a new path in illustrations. She moved from Tehran to New York in 2015. Atieh’s books have been selected by various exhibitions and museums around the world: the Bratislava Illustration Biennial, the Golden Pen Belgrade Illustration Biennial, the 24th BIB exhibition at Hiratsuka Art Museum, the Kawara Museum of Akahama City, the Chiba City Art Museum, the Ashikaga Art Museum, the Urawa Art Museum in Japan, the Tehran International Illustration Biennial, and the Los Angeles County Museum (LACMA).
In 2020, her paintings were shown in two group exhibitions at Highline Gallery, New York, and five pieces from the exhibition were selected by the Communication Arts Magazine to be she was awarded the 2022 Award of Excellence. She was selected by Meta Platforms, Inc (IG&FB) as a Persian artist to create stickers to celebrate Nowruz (Persian New Year) in 2022.
Realisation: Vanni Masala (Bologna Jazz Festival Illustrators Project)
With the collaboration of: Hamelin (Emilio Varrà) / Majid Bita / Antonio De Vita (BJF) / Luca Lollini (BJF) / MaNi Studio (Maria Elena Morganti and Nicola Barzanti)