Shabnam Jannesari is an Iranian painter and MFA Candidate at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, exploring the memories and nostalgia of distant intimacies in her life through narrative, she is creating imaginary spaces from personal reference and patterns.
Iranian patriarchal society censors female independence – restricting where women can go and who they can access. Because of these rules, they must cover their bodies with a hijab. Nonetheless, many women are conflicted – overtly following the rules of their families/society and covertly fighting these limitations by pushing the boundaries and breaking the rules.
To counter this severe censorship, I am inspired to channel Michel Foucault’s notion of heterotopic space and create spaces where women can exist freely. The versatility of heterotopic spaces allows me to construct an ideal world outside of convention—a special and secret space which contrasts with Iranian reality. My paintings express my personal story, but they also reflect the life of Iranians and of all suppressed women. I address the complexity of Iranian female identity in the imagery space that departs from reality; producing a special, supportive, heterotopic representativeness.