With an image of 22-year-old Jina “Mahsa” Amini as the centerpiece of a new artwork — a large-scale, neon billboard that will sit at the heart of Hollywood — Amir H. Fallah ’01 (Painting BFA) hopes to keep the voices of Iranians seeking freedom in the consciousness of everyday Americans.
Amini’s death at the hands of Iran’s morality police for having her hair “improperly” covered launched a wave of protests across the country. And Fallah, who was born in Tehran and moved to Turkey and Italy before relocating to the U.S. at age seven, is using his creative agency to support ongoing efforts for change in Iran. Hoping to elevate the dialogue and keep it in the public eye, he is creating a billboard that will sit on the Shulamit Nazarian art gallery at the corner of Melrose Avenue and North La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles. Fallah says the project is a tool for public education, and part of a greater effort to keep the movement alive in communities worldwide.
The artist’s work can also be seen in a solo exhibition, The Fallacy of Borders, at the Fowler Museum at UCLA. On view through May 14, the works in the show contend with themes of inheritance and appropriation, personhood and objecthood, diaspora and homeland, challenging us to question and transcend boundaries and borders that separate people, cultures, geographies, and art practices.