Roya Nazari: Creating Powerful Art About Women’s Rights in America and Iran

Roya Nazari is a local artist, originally from Iran, and a student in the Masters of Fine Arts program at the University of Minnesota. Her art is often meant to ignite conversation about social issues like mental health, the environment, and women’s rights. She shared that the Women Life Freedom movement in Iran inspires some of her work. “[I use] artwork to encourage women to continue this movement,” Nazari explained. 

Along with creating art about women’s rights in Iran and the U.S., Nazari is also passionate about highlighting mental health through her art. She likes to paint about mental health conditions like depression and bipolar disorder to educate people about these experiences and help people be more conscious of their own mental health. “I want to paint different emotions,” she expresses. 

Nazari has multiple pieces displayed at the Iranian Art Exhibition. One piece, entitled The Cage includes yellow tape and metal textures to represent the danger in Iran right now. Another piece, The Freedom includes hair, representing how a lot of women are forced to cut their hair in Iran, and a gas mask because sometimes Iranian students have to wear gas masks due to poor environmental conditions.

She also uses wires wrapped around a woman’s body in a different piece to represent the lack of women’s rights and freedom. “We have a wonderful history in my country,” she shares. “Right now, my people, specifically women, don’t have freedom…but I know they are such hard workers [and very] intelligent.”

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