Defiance in the Face of Oppression - Iranian Artist Atena Farghadani Defends the Right to Draw
By Gavin Aung Than / zenpencils.com
Jun 12, 2015

Atena Farghadani is a 28-year-old Iranian artist. She was recently sentenced to 12 years and 9 months in prison for drawing a cartoon.

 

This cartoon, that she posted on her Facebook page last year, depicts members of the Iranian parliament as animals. It was drawn in protest of new legislature in Iran that will restrict access to contraception and criminalise voluntary sterilisation. Atena’s charges include ‘spreading propaganda against the system’ and ‘insulting members of parliament through paintings’.

Last August, 12 members of the elite Revolutionary Guard came to Atena’s house, blindfolded her and took her to the infamous Evin Prison in Tehran. According to Amnesty International:

“While in prison last year, Atena flattened paper cups to use them as a surface to paint on. When the prison guards realised what she had been doing, they confiscated her paintings and stopped giving her paper cups. When Atena found some cups in the bathroom, she smuggled them into her cell. Soon after, she was beaten by prison guards, when she refused to strip naked for a full body search. Atena says that they knew about her taking the cups because they had installed cameras in the toilet and bathroom facilities – cameras detainees had been told were not operating.”

She was released in November and gave media interviews and posted a video on YouTube detailing her beatings, constant interrogations and humiliating body searches. She was then rearrested possibly in retaliation for speaking out and has been imprisoned ever since. In January, Atena went on a hunger strike to protest the horrible prison conditions. Her health suffered dramatically, and after losing consciousness and suffering a heart attack in February, she was forced to eat again.

The quote used in the comic is taken from the speech Atena gave at her trial. It has been translated into English by the Free Atena Facebook page. You can read the whole thing here.

Time is now against her, she has just two weeks to lodge an appeal. Michael Cavna, comic journalist for The Washington Post, has launched a campaign appealing to artists to help bring awareness to Atena’s case by creating their own artwork in support of Atena and using the hashtag #Draw4Atena. Can a bunch of artists and a hashtag really make a difference and put pressure on the Iranian Government to release Atena? Probably not. But just remember that Atena is currently in prison enduring horrible conditions, and if her appeal isn’t successful, she will be there for another twelve years. FOR DRAWING A CARTOON AND POSTING IT ON FACEBOOK. Don’t we owe it to her to at least try?

0.0 ·
0
Trending Today
This Animation About The Clitoris Will Amuse and Educate
3 min18,776 views today ·
This Trump Pipeline Prank Should Win an Activism Oscar
2 min5,967 views today ·
If You Haven't Seen the New Moby and Steve Cutts Music Video, Watch It Now
3 min4,319 views today ·
Paramedic's Response to "Burger Flippers" Making an Equal $15/Hour is Beautiful
Craig Carilli3,013 views today ·
The Trap of Righteousness
Charles Eisenstein2,169 views today ·
This Facebook Comment About the UK Election Is Going Viral
Chris Renwick2,144 views today ·
Brexit Means Titanic
2 min1,814 views today ·
Juneteenth: Praise the Lorde, Audre Lorde
Tai Amri Spann-Wilson1,813 views today ·
Inside The Secretive Conservative Call Centre That May Have Broken Election Laws
13 min1,351 views today ·
Load More
What's Next
Law Enforcement Opposed to the War on Drugs (2006)
54 min
Cops Get "Protected and Served," Don't Like It
Kevin Carson
Dying in Prison
4 min
Like us on Facebook?
Defiance in the Face of Oppression - Iranian Artist Atena Farghadani Defends the Right to Draw