This past weekend, I participated in the second annual Viva La Muxer event in celebration of International Women’s Day and a benefit for Las Fotos Project, as the only Iranian artist.
Although Los Angeles is a melting pot of many different ethnicities and cultures, intercultural collaboration is still not practiced as much as it should be. African Americans have their own philanthropic cause, Hispanics/Latinos have their own, Iranians their own and so forth. But imagine what larger exposure each cause would receive by collaborating with other cultural communities. This is exactly why I decided to participate in the Viva La Muxer event. It was the perfect way to celebrate International Women’s Day and show support for an organization that provides a photography space and workshops for teenage girls living in the Hispanic/Latino community of Los Angeles.
The theme of the event was ‘Knowledge is power,’ and since it was in honor of International Women’s Day, I decided to create a piece of art that would symbolize the two. So, voila! I painted a woman’s flexed arm holding her brain. Throughout history, and to this day, women continue to be objectified by media and used as sex symbols by advertisers, to push products and services. Therefore, I wanted to create a symbol that encourages and inspires women to cultivate their intellect in hopes for women around the world to unite in using their knowledge as a stepping stone to success and not their sexuality.
I decided to paint the brain in gold to demonstrate the value of knowledge and added shadows of gold to symbolize that knowledge will not only brighten your own world, but collective knowledge will lead to a brighter world as a whole.
Although the real power lies in the hands of those who have money and influence, if that power is used without knowledge, we all know how detrimental it is to our society. Knowledge empowers us to think critically an make rational decisions. It is through knowledge that we can expand our view and gain the power to pave the way for a better world. However, academic knowledge alone does not suffice. It needs to be paired with cultural awareness, and art is the perfect platform for spreading such awareness. Art serves as a universal language in shedding light on sociopolitical and economic issues that our world faces today. Knowledge gives us the power to better understand the underlying causes of these issues and to make informed decisions on how to tackle them in positive ways. With that said, I am proud to be playing my part in encouraging cultural diversity through art and I am honored for the certificate of recognition given to me by Los Angeles County Supervisor, Hilda Solis.
If we can take away one lesson from popular shows like Scandal and House of Cards, it is that even in the most male dominant sector, where male politicians get tempted to use their “fist” to tackle global issues, it is smart knowledgeable women like Olivia Pope and Clair Underwood who in stead, use their brain to calm men down and influence them to make rational decisions. In other words, women are the ones who are essentially running the world. The only problem is that as Judith Light said, “Women don’t realize how powerful they are.” So ladies, let’s all keep educating ourselves and believing in the power within us. Happy International Women’s Day!