Artist Statements 
"Beyond Shattered Honor" serves as a tribute to the silenced voices of Iranian women, victims of the brutal practice of "honor" killings. In shadows where men decree death over perceived dishonor, this multidisciplinary installation revives the forgotten, those obscured by family and faith. Combining sculpture, photographs, video, and audio, it brings their stories back to light. It transforms symbols of mourning into a critique of violence, seeking justice through memory and artistic expression. This project creates a sanctuary that merges remembrance with resistance, honoring those who were silenced.
"Dear People, Your silence means supporting oppression and oppressors."
                                                                                             - Navid Afkari
About Installation
My work, titled 'Beyond Shattered Honor' addresses the overlooked issue of honor killings, in Iran. It sheds light on how child marriages fuel this brutality and how the lack of accountability for perpetrators exacerbates the problem. I aim to raise awareness, about this issue with the goal of sparking action to end honor killings in Iran. Through my endeavors, I use a range of expressions to delve into and explain the various complex factors and aspects linked to honor killings.
Archive Images:

In my thesis installation I present six portraits of well-known victims of honor-killings sourced from social media and printed on transparent paper. These women—Donya Rezaei, Fatemeh Barihi, Faezeh Maleki Nia, Leila Shakiba, Mona Heidari and Zilan Eivaz—tragically met their demise at the hands of their fathers and husbands. The impact of honor killings goes beyond the loss of life, creating a climate of fear that silences victims of abuse and injustice. These actions destroy families and make communities confront the harsh truth of prioritizing honor over human dignity. Women, who dare to seek love or freedom, often face consequences for actions that're often trivial or unfounded.
I display these images to address and question the silence and invisibility that shroud the narratives of women who have succumbed to honor-related violence. This silence persists due to taboos that discourage discourse on tragedies. Oftentimes labeling their deaths 'honorable', families omit these women’s photographs from printed memorials, effectively erasing their identities.  Societal pressure placed on families impacts their view of daughters' behavior, the cultural biases against women, and the way even minor actions are labeled as matters of honor.
Through representing individuals with documented stories and photographs, my aim is to resist this erasure. I strive to uphold the dignity and uniqueness of these women by showcasing their pictures and countering the inclination to hide their presence after they are gone. This act of remembrance and visibility honors the victims. The return of their images offers a critical perspective on societal traditions that contribute to such heartbreaking events.
I aim to spark conversations and reflection on honor-based killings through these depictions, encouraging a reevaluation of the norms that perpetuate such violence and its broader implications for women's rights and societal progress.
Printing these portraits on acetate achieves a double effect: the clear medium creates sharp images that also cast distinct shadows on the walls behind them. These shadows represent contemplation and the delicate balance between life and death, adding depth to the portrayal and underscoring the significance of these women's experiences and narratives.
I created a piece called "Mihrab " inspired by an architectural feature found in mosques that shows the direction of Mecca for prayers. I handcrafted this Mihrab from wood, decorating it with designs and making it true to its traditional size. Placed on the floor in front of a video display and suspended photographs of victims, the Mihrab represents a shift in focus from religious practices to the women whose tragic deaths were influenced by Iranian laws.
These laws, like Article 630 of the Penal Code which allows husbands to kill their wives for adultery and Article 301, which permits fathers to harm children without consequences, legalizing violence. These laws have persisted since before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which shows their deeply rooted dominance in our society.
Today women are more empowered through technology and social media, advocating for their rights, challenging gender bias, and resisting restrictions on their independence. This change marks a departure from established norms. It encourages discussions about honor-related violence as a crucial human rights issue.
By combining the Mihrab with images and stories of women murdered by their families, my project aims to emphasize the connection between religion, law, and gender-based violence.
This sculpture sparks conversations and deep thoughts prompting a reevaluation of standards and the legal systems that sustain acts of violence. My intention with this creation is to pay tribute to the victims.
Design Of Mihrab
I honored 250 victims of honor killings by inscribing their names on two panels flanking the Mihrab using a wood burning technique. The laborious and meditative act of burning each name by hand is a tribute to the victims.
In mosque Mihrabs, depictions of living beings are prohibited to avoid any resemblance to the Creator. Islamic art instead focuses on calligraphy and arabesque designs, which I incorporated into my Mihrab sculpture as a nod to these traditions of Persian handwriting.  Rooting my practice in Persian traditional art is important to me as an Iranian artist because I can connect with my culture, while critiquing it.  By blending in aspects of traditional methods and contemporary imagery, I spark conversations between eras, showcasing the lasting influence of age-old traditions on today's world. This method not only pays tribute to my heritage but also acts as a potent tool for questioning and reshaping oppressive stories within my society.
Body Sculpture
In contrast to Western practices, Islamic tradition does not use coffins for burial. Reflecting this, I created an installation symbolizing a woman's deceased body by shaping it and wrapping it in a cloth akin to the Kafan, the fabric used in Muslim burials. I then placed this sculpture in the Mihrab, evoking concepts of depth and earth, which are used in actual burials. The symbolic body is arranged with its left hand on the chest and the right hand over the head, before being covered in large, white sheets and bound with ropes, imitating the Kafan wrapping process.
In Islam, graves are aligned perpendicular to Mecca, positioning the deceased to face the city on their right side. To symbolize the deceased’s separation from the earth, wood or stones are traditionally placed beneath the body. I enhanced the realism of my piece by filling the cloth with cotton and sculpting it to accurately depict the posture of a body in a grave. I aligned the body with the pictures of Donya Rezaei, Mona Heidari, Faezeh Maleki Nia, Fatemeh Barihi, Leila Shakiba, and Zilan Eivaz to criticize religiosity and law in Iran. 
Instead of facing toward Mecca, the Mihrab faces down into the earth, where the victims of honor killings are buried. In this way, too, I subvert Islamic symbolism to re-center women’s stories.
Persian Rug
In Iran, the customary practice for burial involves covering the body with cloth and a carpet, before it is transported to and placed in the grave, which is also initially covered with these materials prior to the placement of a gravestone. The intricate Persian rugs, woven by women, transform into highly valued artifacts through their skilled craftsmanship. In my project, I utilized a Persian rug to drape over my sculpture of a deceased body, highlighting the stunning patterns created by women and embracing the traditional Iranian burial presentation. The chosen rug's blue and white hues are significant in Islamic art, which anchor the installation firmly in cultural authenticity.Video
In the video that accompanies the images of the six women who were killed, I share details about Donya Rezaei, Mona Heidari, Faezeh Maleki Nia, Fatemeh Barihi, Leila Shakiba, and Zilan Eivaz through written content. My goal is to offer viewers a glimpse into their lives and personalities.
The issue of child marriage in Iran is intertwined with honor killings. The legalization of child marriage exposes girls to situations that often lead to violence and extreme marital restrictions. When these girls resist or seek liberation from these conditions, they face the threat of becoming victims of honor-related violence. Often justified by societal norms, child marriage is seen as a means of upholding family honor and purity.
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