ISU graduate student uses art exhibit to display women’s issues in Iran

Bailey Freestone

Each graduate student in the College of Design is required to create and host a Master of Fine Arts thesis exhibition before they graduate. During the week of March 13-20, ISU integrated visual arts graduate student Rahele Jomepour will exhibit her artwork at the design gallery on Main Street.

Jomepour’s Master of Fine Arts thesis exhibition is titled “Women in Iran: Ancient History to Modern Times, and Back.” Jomepour is originally from Mashhad, Iran, which is what inspired her to create the series that is being displayed.

“The main inspiration for my art is from my culture, from the things I have experienced and had to overcome,” Jomepour said. “The main focus is about the women’s issues in Iran, from very simple rights to bigger issues.”

Jomepour has been studying at Iowa State the last three and a half years and will graduate in May with her Masters in Fine Arts. Jomepour has been working on all of the artwork in the gallery for the last three years.

The exhibition displays a variety of illustrations. Jomepour does some very intricate and colorful digital illustrations as well as a similar type of illustration that she painted by hand. Some of the other artwork seen in the exhibit includes tiny birdcages with clay birds that Jomepour has painted on, and various sizes of to-go coffee cups with pencil drawings on them.

Although the artwork varies in media and display, it all shares a similar message. Jomepour said the main point of her artwork is to display the social and political issues Iranian women have to deal with all throughout their lives. To her, this is Jomepour’s way of rebelling against the system, as she could be arrested for this type of artwork if she were still in Iran.

“It’s like a vicious comedy,” said Kay Kimble, Jomepour’s mother-in-law, while talking about the exhibition. “It shows the mindset of a child growing up in a war-torn place, coping with those kinds of issues.”

The artwork truly displays these issues well, and could help non-Iranians understand what is really happening to Iranian women.

Jomepour’s exhibition will be open until March 20 at the Design on Main’s Gallery, 203 Main Street in Ames. The show is free to the public. The gallery’s hours are, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday and Friday, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, and is closed on Tuesday and Sunday.