Three exhibitions by women from Iran and Myanmar as part of International Women’s Day is a remarkable and timely achievement for a local council gallery like the Counihan Gallery in Brunswick. A time when we need to see different views and hear different voices from these countries.
In “Portraits of the Anonymous” Shwe Wutt Hmon the works hang like washing on a line. In Myanmar, it is considered bad luck for men to walk under the washing line of longyi dresses. So they turned into a symbol of protest, slowing the military advance as they cut lines hung across streets. The works hanging in the Counihan are portraits and statements with texts in Burmese and English. Shwe Wutt Hmon is one of the founding members of Myanmar-based women photographer group Thuma Collective (see the Julius Baer Next Generation Art Prize website for more about her work.)
Setareh Hosseini, the visual artist, not the creative Canadian make-up artist of the same name, is exhibiting “I Take My City”. Memories of Tehran from an exile taking geography as a memory, holding the buildings in her hand. The universal and the personal, the public and the personal combined. These lyrical works are typical images by Hosseini, a hand holding buildings against a marble background or a sky, or another open background.
And in the final gallery is “The Elysian Fields” is a multi-channel video installation by Sofi Basseghi, the exhibition design is by Ehsan Khoshnami, with music composition by Ai Yamamoto and performances by actor Salme Geransar and courageous women of Iran on the videos. People say that Paradise is a garden, crossing over into the realm of houries, fairies and genies. Female power in nature, a mystical gateway to the other side, which in the profane world, outside of the sacred garden, could simply be immigration.