Banner image: 'Samin' from 'Tale of Tresses' by Maral Mamaghani. Image courtesy of the artist.

Affiliation with Shape: Maral contributed to the Shape Open 2020: The Future is Loading.

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Maral Mamaghani graduated with an MA from the School of Jewellery and Silversmithing from Birmingham City University in 2017. During her time at BCU, Maral created work that drew on her experience with feminism, oppression, and the forced wearing of the hijab [veil] in Iran as a Deaf Iranian woman.

Leaving Iran and studying in the UK gave Maral a new perspective on the issues surrounding women’s rights. She began to use human hair as a material within her work, the hair representing the long-term political struggle that exists in Iran.

About 'Tale of Tresses' which Maral contributed to The Future is Loading...

Drawing on her own roots as an Iranian woman, and her interest in feminism, Maral explored the issue of the hijab [veil]. As a woman in Iran, you are not allowed to uncover your hair or talk about feminism or sexuality as these are ‘forbidden matters.’ Looking at this problem from outside, Maral discovered that hair, as a material, could represent the long-term political struggle that existed in Iran. Maral explored this conceptually by creating a series of brooches with her own and other friends’ hair. The brooch symbolizes their own individual characters and personality coming together, and the stories that they, as women, reflect upon. 

Moreover, the shape of the coconut shell resembles women’s breasts. This provokes discomfort for many Iranians, preventing some from willingly wearing the brooch.

Dorsa – “She is into warm tones and the mysterious and primitive shapes from ancient human drawings. I tried to weave her hair into the wood, in her favourite shape – the triangle. I did this in the traditional way that people made baskets. The triangle is upside down, representing the shape of the womb, to show her femininity.”

Samin – “She is outward, warm-hearted, and sympathetic; however, she is broken inside and tries to hide her sadness by always bringing joy and giving confidence to everyone. I made her brooch like a bridge. She always wants to connect with people and is keen to help; she is flexible and communicates well with everyone.”

Hasti – “She is thoughtful but, on the other hand, she has a silly side. I wanted to show the two parts of her character. She thinks before saying anything, which is represented by the top of the piece. The shape of the natural, curved hair, free of limits, shows how crazy she can be.”

Watch Maral discuss 'Tale of Tresses' which she contributed to The Future Is Loading exhibition...

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