Liu Bolin, the photo project in collaboration with Melania Dalla Costa
The Gaburro Gallery of Milan (via Cerva 25) will be the scene of an initiative with a strong political and social message.
From 13 March to 30 April 2023, it will be exhibited an unreleased photo, belonging to the series Target, by Liu Bolin (Shandong, 1973), one of the most famous and world-renowned artists. The shot, inspired by Iranian women’s protests that are stirring up the squares of the Middle Eastern nation, will be realised in Milan, in the exhibition spaces of the Gaburro Gallery.
The project has been realised thanks to the contribution of actress and activist Melania Dalla Costa, testimonial of the 2019 United Nations’ campaign (UNICRI) and long-time advocate for women victims of physical and psychological abuse. Well aware of the interest that Liu Bolin has in addressing the theme of freedom through his performances, Melania really wanted to involve Nasibe Shamsaei, anti-hijab activist, who fled Iran after being sentenced to twelve years in prison for organising the campaign of “White Wednesdays” and encouraging women to remove their headscarves or wear white shawls as a sign of protest.
In November 2020, the Turkish authorities arrested her at the airport, while she was trying to seek asylum in the EU. Nasibe is in constant danger of being deported back to Iran, as it has already happened to other Iranian activists apprehended in Turkey, in violation of the customary international principle of non-refoulement, which forbids the expulsion to countries where it is feared people would be at risk of persecution, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Nasibe, within Liu Bolin’s project, becomes a symbol of the thousands of women who fight every day for their own freedom.
Differently from Hiding in Italy, in which Liu Bolin camouflages in the surrounding context, in the series Target the people involved become an integral part of the project and part of the final artwork as well, in an active co-participation that is consistent with the theme considered.
Center of the photo’s figurative layout is the gesture of cutting the hair by Nasibe Shamsaei, synonymous with peaceful rebellion. A gesture that reclaims a genuine and profound freedom and that to this day drives human beings to risk their lives, in the squares and streets of the entire world. Together with Nasibe Shamsaei and Melania Dalla Costa, Iranian women will take part in the realization of the artwork, conceived by Liu Bolin, reinforcing the meaning of the gesture and highlighting how art can still encourage a reflection on important contemporary themes. Among the important personalities involved, there are also Delshad Marsous and Taher Nikkhah, decisive in the process of recruiting the participants and in the story telling of what really means to live under a totalitarian regime, characterized by executions and violent repression.