BEFORE, DURING, AFTER
PROF. BRIAN SLAWSON, CHAIR PROF. RICHARD HEIPP, MEMBER
A PROJECT IN LIEU OF THESIS PRESENTED TO THE COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF FINE ARTS
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
2011 Negin Jahanmiri
To Shahrzad Nikbakht, my mother, Who taught me never to give up chasing my dreams...
"When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."
(Paolo Coelho, The Alchemist, P.22)
I greatefuly thank my family and friends for their encouragement, support, and faith in my ability to accomplish my goals as an artist, designer, and instructor.
I would also like to thank my supervisory committee, Brian Slawson and Richard Heipp for their patience, dedication, and direction.
Only with everyone's contribution was my success possible. I am incredibly grateful and deeply indebted.
Table of Contents
List of Figures and Plates 7
Political Climate of Iran 11
The Story of Creating Neginese 14
The Process of Designing the Posters 18
Motivations and Inspirations 22
The Conceptual and Visual Elements of the Posters 24
Future Directions 37
List of Figures and Plates
Plate 1. BEFORE, DURING, AFTER, MFA Thesis Exhibition II 10
Figure 1. A Farsi letter in Neginese 15
Figure 2. Turning Neginese letters into vectors 16
Plate 2. Before, During, After, Invitation Poster 18
Figure 3. Examples of Reza Abedini's works 20
Figure 4. Examples of Bijan Sayfouri's works 21
Figure 5. Poster #1 25
Figure 6. Poster # 2 27
Figure 7. Poster #3 28
Figure 8. Poster #4 29
Figure 9. Poster #5 30
Figure 10. Poster # 6 31
Figure 11. Detail of Poster #6 31
Figure 12. Poster # 7 33
Figure 13. Poster # 8 34
Figure 14. Poster # 9 36
Plate 3. Series of Nine Posters 38
Abstract of Project in Lieu of Thesis Presented to the College of Fine Arts of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Fine Arts
BEFORE, DURING, AFTER
Negin Jahanmiri May 2011
Chair: Brian Slawson Major: Art
My Project in Lieu of Thesis is a series of nine large-scale political and social commentary posters. The posters are three by six feet and have both social and personal messages. The subjects of the posters revolve around the events that happened before, during, and after the tenth presidential election in Iran in June 2009. In that election, there were four candidates, including Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from the conservative party and Mir-Hossein Mousavi from the reformist party. I believe there is evidence to support that it was a fraudulent election. Once again the power fell into the hands of conservatives, and Ahmadinejad remained the president for another term.
However, this time, the evidence that the election was fraudulent was so obvious that the supporters of Mousavi, the leader of the Green Movement, gathered in the streets demanding that the government recount the votes or hold the election again. For almost a week, the streets of the largest cities in Iran were filled with millions of protestors asking for their voices to be heard. To everyone's shock, Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran gave orders to Basij, the
paramilitary volunteer militia, to violently confront the peaceful protestors and start arresting, beating, torturing, and shooting them. "Before, During, After" is a series of nine posters that represent the situation surrounding Iran's election through a combination of editorial images, poetic phrases, and my personal comments as an expatriate.
For this project, I have explored the political climate of Iran through social media sources as well as gathering insights from my own friends and family in Iran. I have contacted poets, designers, photographers, journalists, and former political prisoners asking for permission to use their comments, points of view, and photographs that document the election. I have divided the posters into three different groups to emphasize the hope, disappointment, and fear felt by the supporters of the Green Movement.
In my posters, I have created a design system that combines expressive typography in English, Farsi, and a "secret" language, which I devised when I was thirteen. I have chosen to address three target audiences. The first are the supporters of the Green Movement still living in Iran, the second are the Iranian expatriates, such as myself, and the third are English-speaking people who are interested in politics and human rights. I have used phrases written in Farsi, English, and "Neginese", my secret language, as metaphors for the three target audiences. I used three languages in order to create a set of phrases that ultimately complete each other and thus deliver a deeper and more complex message. My goal is to make viewers aware of the social and political situation surrounding Iran's election and to visually express my thoughts and reaction as an expatriate designer.
Plate 1. BEFORE, DURING, AFTER, MFA Thesis Exhibition II, April 8-22, 2011, University Gallery, University of Florida.
Political Climate of Iran
Like most of the Iranians in my age group, until the presidential election in June 2009,1 was not following the politics of my country very much. However, I still had hopes to see a better future for Iran, which is why I traveled to Tampa, Florida, along with my Iranian friends from the University of Florida to vote for the new presidential election. We were on our way back to Gainesville, when we heard that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected as the new president in Iran. There were still two more hours left for the Iranians on the East Coast to vote, and I knew for sure that there was not enough time for the people to count the votes that we had just submitted. This made me and so many others feel disappointed and it became a good reason to follow the political news beginning that day. The only problem was that we did not know where to start or how to learn the 30 years of Iranian politics after the Iranian revolution. Soon we realized that Voice of America had predicted our needs and had launched a 30-minute weekly program called Parazit (literal translation: static) that discussed the news and the politics of Iran in a descriptive, humorous, and simple way that our generation could easily understand. I have watched Parazit through their Facebook page ever since and have used it as the reference for most of my political and social information about my home country.
The citizens of Iran elect the President every four years. Due to the Iranian revolution and the referendum to create the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, the people of Iran lost their freedom in almost every aspect of their social lives, as the country fell into the hands of conservative politicians and religious leaders. In 1997 when Mohammad Khatami from the reformist party was nominated for the seventh
presidential election, the reformist-minded people in Iran united and supported him. Once again, people had hopes of freedom and in order to reach them they all voted for the only nominated person who could possibly change the situation for the better. Khatami served the country as a president from 1997 to 2005. He was a caring political character, who brought back hope and partial freedom to the society and the lives of those who had given up on their very basic rights, such as the freedom of speech, dress and lifestyle.
As time passed, the people of Iran got used to the freedom that Khatami had brought back to the country and started taking it for granted. Unfortunately, in 2005, when the country needed their votes again, the majority of the supporters of the reformist party were nowhere to be found. Once again, the power fell into the hands of conservatives and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became the president.
Ahmadinejad brought much misery to the country. The unemployment rate went up and a lot of people suffered poverty. Furthermore, due to Ahmadinejad's radical speeches, many countries stopped or limited their affairs with Iran, and by 2009 the country was put on sanction by most foreign countries.
In June 2009, when Ahmadinejad was nominated as a candidate for another presidential election, the majority of the people of Iran united again to stop that from happening by supporting Mir-Hossein Mousavi of the reformist party. Mousavi was an educator, painter, architect, and had served the country as 79th, and the last prime minister of Iran from 1981 to 1989.
It is important to know that in Iran the votes are counted manually and, in my opinion, it would have taken the government at least a few days to count all the
votes in order to announce the official results. However, only a few hours after the polls were closed in Iran, and while they were still open in some other countries, including the United States, the media revealed the results and announced Ahmadinejad as the new president.
Through Facebook and YouTube, I was able to find videos and photographs of Basijis, the paramilitary volunteer militia, faking votes, and the photographs of the ballots, which had been thrown away or were abandoned in vacant buildings while they were still sealed. Another mistake the government of Iran made was to show piles of unfolded votes with Ahmadinejad's name written on them on national TV to support its claim that Ahmadinejad was truly elected by the majority of the people of Iran. However, as I watched the videos on YouTube, I realized that most of the handwritings on the papers were similar, and it seemed as if they all had used the same pen. Moreover, the only way to put the votes in the ballots was to fold them, while none of the "claimed" votes were folded.
Regardless, once again Ahmadinejad remained the president for another term, and the rest became history. Millions of brave men and women, young and old, gathered in the streets of the largest cities of Iran, supporting Mir-Hossein Mousavi claiming that the election was fraudulent and demanding that the government recount the votes or hold another election. There was no call for the protests. Yet for almost a week, the streets of the largest cities in Iran were filled with millions of supporters of Mir-Hossein Mousavi, and Mehdi Karroubi, another candidate from the reformist party, asking for their voices to be heard. The peaceful protestors created a movement, which today is known as the Green Movement, and although
Mir-Hossein Mousavi never demanded to be their leader nor called for any sort of gatherings, the protestors chose him as the leader of the Green Movement.
Following the peaceful protests, the Riot Police and Basij tried to frighten and break the protestors' unity and send them home. However, when they did not succeed, they asked Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran for his permission to violently confront the protestors, which led to arresting, beating, torturing, and shooting hundreds of protestors. Neda Agha Soltan, 26, a young woman, and Sohrab Arabi, 19, a young man, were among many others who were murdered by Basijis and became icons in the Green Movement's history. As of today, many protestors are still in jail being tortured, and many have been murdered and buried in unknown graves without their families knowing it.
According to Ahmad Batebi, human rights activist and former political prisoner, who now lives in Washington DC, the Green Movement is not over, but it has decided to remain silent due to the loss of so many members. One of the biggest differences between the Green Protestors and the Basijis is that the Green Protestors have never been violent. They also do not support any sort of radical reactions, which is why they are silent these days (Phone interview with Ahmad Batebi, December 2010).
The Story of Creating Neginese
At the age of 13, when I was in middle school, I started writing letters to my best friend who would sit next to me in class. She did not have a phone and we thought writing letters would be the only way to communicate while we were not at school. Like every other teenage girl, we had some secrets that did not want our
parents to know about. Also, we both had older sisters whose fulltime job was to investigate what we were doing in order to tell our parents and get us in trouble.
As a result, I decided to create a coding system to write the letters in a way that only my friend and I would be able to read them. I invented 32 original symbols and assigned each symbol to one of the 32 letters of the Farsi alphabet. The letters I would write in my secret language were still in Farsi, but nobody was able to read them without knowing how to translate them (figure 1).
Figure 1. A Farsi Letter in Neginese. As a test, I wrote one letter to my friend without any notice and provided her
the code keys on a small card. The results were very interesting. Although she had to
spend a longer time reading the coded letter than she would normally take reading
the letters in Farsi, she liked the adventure and the excitement of using the codes.
Soon, Neginese became my secret language, by which I could write anything wherever and whenever I wanted without having to think about who was going to see and read them. As of today, I only have shared the codes with five of my friends and only two can remember how to read it. I still use the codes to write personal notes that I want to keep secret.
To create the symbols for Neginese, I looked at my two favorite pictographic languages at the time, the Egyptian Hieroglyphics and the Old Persian cuneiform,
the written language of the Persian Empire (500-330 BC) as references. They were both centered line and were written from left to right. I created some patterns based on similar letters in Farsi and then broke the pattern in some parts to decrease the chance of decoding the language. In high school I added ten more symbols for the numerals when I realized the need for writing boys' phone numbers without anyone noticing. In 2009,1 made the letters into vector drawings with serifs to add a sense of elegance to the symbols. I have been completing the full set of letters in order to make them into a usable font ever since (figure 2).
Figure 2. Turning Neginese letters into vectors.
In my nine posters I have chosen to address three target audiences. I have used phrases written in Farsi, English, and Neginese as metaphors and to represent the voices of the three target audiences. The phrases in these three languages ultimately complete each other and eventually deliver a deeper and more complex message.
The first group of my audience is the supporters of the Green Movement, who are still living in Iran. This group is closer to the current politics of Iran and includes the people who bravely confronted the government asking for their rights. The phrases I used for this group were written in Farsi with the attempt to evoke the feelings and the reaction that this group has had before, during, and after the presidential election in a poetic way, using beautiful, indirect, and conceptual language.
The second is the Iranian expatriates, such as myself. We did not experience the events firsthand and could not participate physically in the protests in our country. Some of us voted for change and some were too far away or too busy to do so. However, at the end, we were equally as concerned about the future of our country as the Iranians who were living in Iran. Although we were unable to join the protestors in Iran, we did our part in spreading the word and informing the young protestors through social media, such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. The phrases I used for this group were more emotional and nostalgic, and slightly farther from the political climate of Iran. I chose Neginese, my secret language, to write the phrases for this group.
The third is English-speaking people who are interested in politics and human rights. This group has less information about Iran's politics and the society itself and naturally has less feeling towards the situation. Therefore, the phrases I used for this group are in English and more general than the phrases in the other two languages.
Plate 2. Before, During, After, Invitation Poster, designed by Negin Jahanmiri.
The Process of Designing the Posters
"Before, During, After" is a series of nine large-scale posters that visually present the highlights of the incidents that happened in reaction to Iran's tenth presidential election in June 2009. The posters are three by six feet and have both social and personal messages. Through a combination of editorial images, poetic phrases, and my personal comments as an expatriate, I have created a design system that combines expressive typography in English, Farsi, and my invented language, Neginese.
Ever since the election, I have explored the political climate of Iran through social media sources, such as Facebook, YouTube, internet-based newspapers and television, as well as gathering insights from my own friends and family in Iran.
In order to write the phrases of my posters in a poetic way I contacted a few amateur poets to assist me. Some of them live in the United States, while some are
still in Iran. In my long phone conversations with the poets, I would tell them what I wanted to say in each phrase, and they would either repeat it in a conceptual poetic way or suggest that I look for specific poems from old Iranian poets. In order to keep the poetic sense of the phrases and prevent them from being lost in translation, I asked other friends who study linguistics to translate the poems into English. However, due to the politically sensitive subject that I have chosen, I was asked not to reveal the names of the poets or the people who translated them for me into English.
One of the challenges I was facing while designing the posters was dealing with three different phrases in three different languages in every poster. In the past, I have designed works in both Farsi and English and combined the two languages in order to create expressive typographic compositions. However, in those experiences both phrases would always mean the same thing, as they were the literal translation of each other.
At first, I created individual compositions for every phrase in English, Farsi, and Neginese. However, when I tried to put each set of three together, the composition became too crowded and there was not enough space to fit all three phrases properly. Therefore, I created a design system in which only one phrase was the dominant phrase and the expressive hierarchy, while the other two remained neutral and secondary phrases. This system let me focus my attention on one language at a time, and create the final typographic compositions for the posters.
Although my MFA committee members were advising me while I was designing the posters, I also realized that I needed some advice from educators and
typographers who could read and write Farsi in addition to English. Therefore, I contacted Reza Abedini (figure 3) and Bijan Sayfouri (figure 4), two recognized Iranian typographers, whose works have always greatly impacted my typography practices. I sent Facebook messages to Bijan Sayfouri and had a Skype interview with Reza Abedini. They both emphasized that in creating typographic compositions it is not as much about fonts and the clarity of the words as it is about balance between the negative and the positive spaces.
Figure 3. Examples of Reza Abedini's works.
Figure 4. Examples of Bijan Sayfouri's works. When I was having problems finding typefaces that almost looked similar in
Farsi and English, Reza Abedini's advice was that I should not, as each language is
completely different and it needs its own visual individuality. Furthermore, had I
done that, there would be no contrast between how Farsi and English phrases look
and my compositions would be less attractive.
Another challenge I overcame in the process of designing the posters was to
find original high-quality photographs without worrying about copyright issues. I
could not afford the photographs that stock photography websites were selling from
the incidents surrounding Iran's presidential election. Therefore, I started looking
for the photographs that were not owned by the stock photography websites. With
an extensive search on Google and Facebook, I was able to find the name of one of
the photographers who had documented the events. His name is Farhad Rajabali,
and I felt very lucky when I realized that, unlike so many other photographers, he is still in Iran, out of jail, and possessed his original photographs. I then contacted him asking for his permission to use the photographs in my project. He was generous enough to send me the high quality photographs and told me if I decided to use them I should mention his name as the photographer.
Also, during one of my phone conversations with Ahmad Batebi, human rights activist, he gave me the name and contact information of his photographer friend, Kian Amani, who was arrested and tortured by Basijis and had moved to the United States right after he was released. I contacted Kian Amani many times explaining my project and asking for the original files of the images he had captured before, during, and after the presidential election. Unfortunately, the government had taken away the digital files of most of the photographs that Kian Amani had taken. However, he was very generous to share the files he still had with me. Soon I had a large archive from which I could choose the photographs without worrying about legal issues.
Motivations and Inspirations
In my second year of graduate school, I started to feel a heavy responsibility as an expatriate designer. In one of the required art history classes, The Contemporary African Arts, which I took in fall 2009,1 became familiar with El Anatsui, a Ghanaian sculptor who lives and works in Nigeria. El Anatsui advises all artists to go back into their own culture, look inside and pick patterns and elements, then create new concepts and meanings using what they have inherited from their
past. He uses the term "Sankofa", a word in Twi, meaning, "Go back and pick" to emphasize his statement.
El Anatsui's words motivated me to explore my own culture and create new forms and meanings by using it. I knew that back in college we were trained to design globally, rather than using elements from our own culture. However, often times, by looking at Japanese, Chinese, Indian, or Spanish artists' works, I could tell their nationality, because of the styles or the colors they had used.
I started with decorative designs. I compared many Celtic motifs/designs to Persian motifs and was able to find their similarities as well as their differences. I found it very interesting that both Celtic designs and Persian designs, whether in pre-Islamic era or after Islam, followed the same simple symmetrical and mathematical rules. The only differences were in the contents, colors, and details, which made me wonder where and how I could use each style.
The next step led me to language differences. In Farsi we read and write from right to left, while English is written from left to right. This also affects the way in which books, magazines, catalogues, or other printed matter is read. Now how was I supposed to design based on my knowledge in both languages and typographic systems, using elements and patterns from both cultures? Where else was I supposed to look?
I began reading and searching for guidelines in typography in English as well as in Farsi. I looked for successful and world-renowned Graphic Designer/ Typographers in US and in Iran, and their point of views in Typography. I became
familiar with their works and styles and was inspired by them, which also reflected in my own designs as a response to theirs.
Reza Abedini (figure 3) and Bijan Sayfouri (figure 4) were the two main Iranian typographers while Herb Lubalin and David Carson were the two main American typographers I was most inspired by. For my Project in Lieu of Thesis, I also looked at works by Wolfgang Weingart, Shapard Fairey, and Barbara Kruger for inspiration in expressive typography, as well as propaganda and political posters. I also searched internet-based design networks, such as Behance.net and Khtt.net to discover the works of contemporary young designers who were also practicing expressive typography in Farsi, English, and Arabic.
The Conceptual and Visual Elements of the Posters
Through colors, typography compositions, and visual elements, I have divided the posters into three different groups to emphasize the hope, disappointment, and fear felt by the supporters of the Green Movement. One of the most important visual elements, which I used in my posters were hand and body gestures. The other was the color of green. Green is one of the three colors of the Iranian flag, and the color that Mir-Hossein Mousavi chose to promote his campaign. During the protests, the supporters of Mir-Hossein Mousavi continued wearing green shirts, scarves, and wristbands and soon the color of green became their visual identity.
In order to explain the concepts of the posters better, I will now discuss each poster in more detail:
Figure 5. Poster # 1.
The first series of posters represent the excitement, optimism, victory, and hope that the supporters of Mir-Hossein Mousavi felt before the presidential election. The photograph in figure 5 shows the hand of a young woman, wrapped in green cloth, while her index and middle fingers have formed the victory symbol. The simple gray background helps create a well-balanced contrast between the black and the white composition and the colorful photograph. The phrases I chose for this
poster were all positive, suggesting that with the election, things would have been changed for the better:
Farsi: Filled with a hope that one day we will have sweet dreams English: A rain of peace will come Neginese: Tomorrow will be with us
The typeface I chose for this poster in Farsi was Iran Nastaligh, which is based on one of the common calligraphy styles in Farsi (Nastaligh), and the typeface I chose in English was ITC Avant Garde, which was designed by Herb Lubalin back in the 1960's. Both fonts are san serif and based on their smooth shapes and even strokes have peaceful moods to them and they do not look similar, as Abedini had suggested the contrast between them make a successful composition. In all nine posters the font for Neginese remains the same.
In figure 6, the arrangement of typography reflects and echoes the bouquet of flowers in the photograph, which was taken by Farhad Rajabali, the supporters of Mousavi are united and ready to vote for change. The phrases are read as: Farsi: Hand in hand with kindness, let's rebuild our homeland English: Better days are yet to come
Neginese: Our shared suffering can never be healed in separation
Figure 6. Poster # 2.
In figure 7, the fingerprint is used as a symbol of voting in Iran. We mark our fingers to authenticate our votes. The black boxes, which hold the phrases in Farsi and Neginese, were borrowed from Barbara Kruger's style of designing posters. The phrases are read as:
Farsi: Tomorrow will be good, if you write it beautifully English: They shall overcome Neginese: Eternal peace is beautiful
Figure 7. Poster # 3.
The second series of posters represent the disappointment and repression the supporters of Mir-Hossein Mousavi felt right after the presidential election. The supporters did not expect to be beaten, arrested, or tortured, just because they had participated in peaceful protests asking for their voices to be heard.
Figure 8. Poster # 4.
Figure 8 is most interesting for its dramatic and sad mood. While it takes a great tragedy to cause Iranian men to cry, the photograph shows a Green Protestor covering his face as he cries. The photograph was taken by Farhad Rajabali, and the phrases are read as:
Farsi: Trust does not have any meaning without the dots
English: The land of Iran awaits a crystal clear rain that never seems to come
Neginese: I am looking at my homeland's sky, which is missing a heavy cloud that does not rain
Figure 9. Poster # 5.
Figure 9 shows the silhouette of three Green Protestors during the protests, which took place in June 2009. In spite of the simplicity, the images of the hand gestures can still illustrate the defiant. Phrases are read as: Farsi: Tiredness of history is behind English: Where is their vote? Where is their voice?
Neginese: My green vote was not your black name
Figure 10. Poster # 6. Figure 11. Detail of Poster # 6.
The poster above (figure 10) was designed in response to the "quiet rally," by the Green protestors that showed their disapproval of the government's reaction to the fraudulent election. The photograph of this poster, which was taken by Farhad Rajabali, shows a young protestor whose face has been injured during the protest. He has covered his face with the green cloth in order to hide his identity from Basijis and the Riot Police. He is looking down, but one can feel the disappointment and the
sorrow he feels about the situation. As an expressive type treatment, I used parts from the Farsi phrase in order to create barbed wires, which suggest the lack of freedom of speech that the Green Protestors had suffered.
The phrases I chose for this poster were all pessimistic, expressing the anger, disappointment and shock that the supporter of Mir-Hossein Mousavi felt right after the presidential election:
Farsi: I wrote life for a thousand times, exhaustion
English: Reach out to the rising windows before every silence
Neginese: Sometimes the sores need no mention
The typeface I chose for this poster in Farsi was Yagut Bold, and the typeface that I chose in English for the word "Silence" was Palatino Bold. Both typefaces have serif looks and due to their sharp edges suggest tension and are suitable for this poster. The typeface that I chose for the English phrase was Myriad Pro Regular, which has a monotone neutral look.
The third series of posters I designed represent the oppression and defeat that the supporters of Mir-Hossein Mousavi felt after Basijis started killing the innocent protestors. However, influenced by the revolutionary movements in North Africa and the Middle East, in early 2011,1 decided to complete the series with positive thinking and a sense of hope that someday the people of Iran will gain the freedom they truly deserve (figure 14).
Figure 12. Poster # 7.
The photograph in the poster above (figure 12), which I captured myself, shows the hand of a young man filled with blood. I took many shots inside and outside the studio with natural and artificial lights in order to get the photograph, which I eventually chose for this poster. The gesture of the hand makes a strong statement; offering proof that although many protestors lost their lives, the movement is still alive and the protestors will bravely stand until they reach the freedom for which they are fighting. The black boxes around the wrist signify the
lack of freedom. The wall as the background helps create a sense of texture, distress,
and decay, similar to David Carson's works. The typeface I chose for this poster in
Farsi was Yagut Bold, and the typeface that I chose in English, was Myriad Pro Bold.
The phrases I chose for this poster were:
Farsi: The most sorrowful tragedy is surrendering to destiny
English: The future does not belong to the world of eternity
Neginese: Where is happiness? It seems as if God is sleeping
Figure 13. Poster # 8.
Figure 13 shows Neda Agha Soltan, a 26 years old woman, who was shot to death in the streets of Tehran during the protests on June 20, 2009. The photograph is a screen shot of the three-minute YouTube video, in which Neda Agha Soltan dies in front of the camera. The photograph of Neda is shocking and disturbing in terms of subject matter and image quality. This poster was dedicated to all the protestors who fought for their rights and lost their lives after the presidential election. The phrases are read as:
Farsi: I had a dream to fly. However, there was not enough time to close my eyes
English: Neda shed her blood for you and I
Neginese: What in your eyes made the whole world cry?
Following the recent revolutionary activity in the Middle East, including in Iran, I wanted to complete the series thinking positively and hoping that the people of Iran will someday gain the freedom they truly deserve. Figure 14 shows a silhouette of a female protestor, holding her arm in the air, suggesting the power of the protestors and their willingness to fight until they reach victory. The photograph of the crowd contained within the woman's silhouette was taken by Kian Amani, and represents a scene of the united protestors holding their hands up in the sign of victory. The phrases are read as: Farsi: One day we will find our pigeons English: The nightmare will be over Neginese: A little patience, dawn is near
Figure 14. Poster # 9.
For the exhibition I chose not to reveal what the posters say in Neginese, as I did not want to decode my language. Due to the limited space I chose the best six posters with which I could tell the whole story.
Overall in this project, I was able to overcome my fear of the scale, typography in three different languages, and the heavy responsibility that I feel as one of the few graphic design expatriates who has chosen Iran's election as the
subject of my creative project. I wanted everything to look and be perfect. Yet there was no scale or outline by which I could define the perfection.
My goal when designing this series of posters was to make viewers aware of the social and political incidents that happened before, during, and after Iran's presidential election and to visually express my thoughts and reactions as an expatriate designer.
Ideally this series of posters are intended to be exhibited in galleries, university exhibitions and magazines that highlight political, social, or international works. No matter where my career will take me, I will continue creating awareness with my social and political designs. However, as the era of print is almost over and everything is drawn to digital formats, I will explore and adapt my designs into digital formats in the future.
As for the politics of Iran, I hope to see stronger revolutionary waves, similarly to the ones in Egypt and Tunisia in early 2011. Such movements could eventually defeat the Islamic regime and turn Iran into a free, democratic country.
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The 5th Color: Abbasi, M., Abedini, R., Meshki, S., Mostafazadeh, A., & Sayfouri, B. (2002). Keystone: 56 Posters from 8 Graphic Designers, Tehran: Mahriz Publication.
Negin Jahanmiri was born on January 10,1981, in Shiraz, Iran. She received her BFA in Graphic Design from Sooreh Higher Education Institute in June 2005. After working at Darinoush Artistic and Cultural Publications as a Graphic Designer for one and a half years, Negin traveled to the United States and joined the Industrial Technology program at Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina. In August 2008 Negin graduated with an MA in Industrial Technology, with emphasis in Graphic Arts & Imaging Technology. Negin then began her MFA in Graphic Design at The University of Florida. She was a full time graduate student and held a 13-hour assistantship, working within the UF foundation program, WARP, in addition to serving as the lab monitor in the photography department.