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    Still from It is Written (Mostafa Heravi, 2006). Used with permission from Women's Voices Now.


  issue 3.2 |  

Journal Issue 3.2
Fall 2011
Edited by Julie Ann Salthouse, Jillian Hernandez, Agatha Beins, Karen Alexander and Deanna Utroske
Editorial Assistants: A.J. Barks and Anna Zailik


On It Is Written and Somaye1

Artist's Statement by Mostafa Heravi

Together with three other of my films2 It Is Written and Somaye form a compilation of five films that could also be shown independently. All five films are about women and their possibilities. My choice for the two films for the festival Women's Voices from the Muslim World was by pure chance. In order to get a complete picture of my ideas about the subject, one should actually see all five films.
        As an artist I have always had the intention to create works about specific subjects from the society of which I am part. Since I have lived in The Netherlands, however, I discovered that the position of women in Dutch society completely differs from the one I was used to in Iran. Therefore it has become a challenge for me to show the possibilities for and restrictions of women in my own country.
     In the world where I come from women have few possibilities and many restrictions. In 1979 the Iranian revolution took place, which made the country Islamic and much more conservative. Since this revolution the position of women has worsened. They have had to face more restrictions and obligations, such as wearing a hejab (the covering of the head and body, recognizable as a chador). From the Iranian revolution in 1979 until today many photographs, films, and the like have been made that show in what ways women in Iran are restricted. It seems as if they have no possibilities at all. In my works, however, I use women and their restrictions to give them a new form and a new face. In the film It Is Written, we can see a woman dancing a classic ballet in a hejab, whereas dancing is absolutely forbidden in Iran. In my other work Somaye, we can see a woman running in a black chador, thinking in a white one, and standing in water in red-colored clothes, being alive. In my works I want to show that women can do what they want to, despite the restriction of a hejab. I do not want to render them as helpless creatures, because they just are not.
       A festival like Women's Voices from the Muslim World is an excellent platform for artists like me to meet artists from other countries and to exchange ideas. This way it is possible to draw a picture of the countries in which women are being oppressed.


Mostafa Heravi, born in Iran in 1974, is a filmmaker and visual artist based in the Netherlands since 2001. Main themes in his work are nature, society, sexuality, and religion.

1 It Is Written (2007) can be viewed at http://womensvoicesnow .org/watchfilm/it_is_written/, and Somaye (2009) can be viewed at http://womensvoices

2 The titles of the other three films are Sin, Supper, and Gladiatorha.


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