February 10, 2023 - March 19, 2023


In September of 2022, protests in Iran erupted. National outcry condemning the brutal murder of Mahsa Amini spurred tens of thousands of demonstrators into the streets, calling for basic human rights and an end to the current regime.

I would hear the trickling of news through social media, or through word of mouth. I had a Persian colleague at the time, she would arrive at work worried, her family lives in Tehran. Her brother was beaten at protests but she was relieved he was not taken and imprisoned like so many others. The stories became more grim as weeks passed. Children being shot, women assaulted, innocent young men hung in public.

I was born here to Iranian parents, and was spared an upbringing of injustice and misogyny that most women in Iran endure on a daily basis. Immediate feelings of guilt washed over me with every new piece of news; how did I get lucky to have the very basic rights people elsewhere are dying for? How could I feel this useless? What is my role in all this? If I could wish a million wishes for the regime to go away, I would. The more I thought, the more I read, the more my heart ached at the inhumanity, I could only come to one conclusion; to not forsake what I have been given. As a gallery owner, I have a voice, I have a platform, and an obligation for bringing awareness and transcendence to the public.

Ida Badal, Azadeh Elmizadeh, and Aryana Minai are artists I have long admired, all three are also female artists of Iranian descent. When I first eyed Ida Badal’s work in person, I stopped in my tracks to take in her paintings; they seamlessly blur the line between aerial photographs and microscopic views of nature. The canvases are meditative and sparse yet compact with movement. After learning that Badal and I shared similar heritage, I started to associate her images with clips of Kiarostami films. Badal’s familiar scenery reminded me of the meandering desolate landscapes that serve as backdrops to Iranian Cinema.

Over the past year, Azadeh Elmizadeh’s soft atmospheric compositions have captivated my attention. Her masterful overlays of translucent colors build across canvases to formulate entirely new scapes. The weightless shape-shifting masses of vital hues reveal recognizable elements, the neck and wings of a bird, human limbs, eyes, fire, and air. There are references to Persian mythology, but the works are experiential rather than narrative. These mystical scenes imbue the viewer with comfort and wisdom.

Aryana Minai mines her surroundings for bricks and stones from buildings that no longer exist, old gates discarded from their ledges, and generations old woodblocks no longer in use. These fragments are molded and imprinted into paper pulp that is embedded with ink and dye. Minai uses this handmade process as a rebirth for these relics. The elemental pulp parts build on one another to create an architecture of their own. Minai’s final compositions re-envision gates and portals as living entities that shed and acquire memories as bodies pass through its doorways.

These three artists' work have stayed with me as unique voices that create spaces for safety and respite. This exhibition brings together the visions of Ida Badal, Azadeh Elmizadeh, and Aryana Minai as a revelry in freedom of expression, and to carry the torch for Women, Life, Freedom, forward….. from wherever we are.

-Palyzeh Kashi

Owner/ Director EUROPA