The Echo of Your Departures
The Echo of Your Departures is the first solo exhibition by artist and curator Azadeh Fatehrad at Danielle Arnaud. It explores the history of the feminist movement in Iran, as well as the lives of contemporary women in diasporas, focusing on issues of identity, femininity, emotion, desire, clothing norms and moral values.
The exhibition comprises three multi-media installations; National Unity of Women (2016), The Dance of Fabric (2015) and The Echo of Your Departures (2018). Referring to existing images of past events, the works ask how we can recreate history in a contemporary context through a combination of fact and fiction.
The first, National Unity of Women (2016), alludes to a series of interviews with Shahin Nawai, one of the leaders of the feminist movement in Iran, who effectively created the National Unity of Women’s Associations during the 1979 uprising. On March 8, 1979, the day after the announcement of the compulsory dress code (hijab) laws, thousands of men and women marched on the streets of Tehran in opposition. The video reflects on Nawai’s insights into women’s life in Iran, and her activities and viewpoints surrounding the events of March 8, 1979.
In the second, The Dance of Fabric (2015), Fatehrad looks at the object of repression (the veil) in the context of Iranian history. She suggests a dimension of beauty and desire to the veil, reflecting on her own life in Iran, as well as creating an imaginary space of self-representation.
The last work, The Echo of Your Departures (2018) is a five-channel sound and one-channel video installation. It was inspired by a series of in-depth anthropological interviews with women in diasporas and focuses on themes of migration and transition. Through a collaborative production with composer Matthew Ward, fragments of the interview transcriptions have been combined with imaginary elements of self-reflection to create an ephemeral constellation (of sound and video) through which Fatehrad seeks to represent the notions of uncertainty and in-betweeness in the diasporic experience. The work was produced during a term residency at St John’s College, University of Oxford, with generous support from the staff, and in collaboration with members of St John’s Choir including Sofia Kirwan-Baez, Elizabeth Davis, Laetitia Pilgrim, Margaret Lingas, Anne-Marie Lo, Abby Freeman, Lucy Huntsman, Kathryn Forkey, William Underwood, Cameron Di Leo, Alex Cui, Henry Cole, William Brettle, Thomas Channer, Andrew Wiseman and Philip Burnett.