Nova Scotia Journal

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

PaykanArtCar in Canada: A Driving Force Against Abuse Of Human rights

PaykanArtCar in Canada

Key Takeaways:

  • The Paykan, Iran’s first automobile, has been a revered national emblem since the late 1960s.
  • Shojaian, a homosexual guy, was forced to leave his homeland years ago, and there are many others like him.

Even though the car was discontinued years ago, Paykans may still be seen on Tehran’s streets. Alireza Shojaian, an Iranian-born artist, took the Paykan as his canvas for a work aimed to protest human rights abuses in his homeland because the car is such an iconic design.

In reality, the Paykan limousine he painted is the same one that the Shah of Iran presented to dictator Nicolae Ceausescu when he was elected president of Romania in 1974.

Shojaian painted the tale of Ali Fazeli Monfared, who was only 20 years old when a man was beheaded by his family member in an alleged “honor killing” for being gay on the car’s metal panels.

“Living in a nation that limits its residents from showing their genuine, authentic selves, and even openly denies their existence, has driven many in our Middle Eastern LGBT community to live in exile,” he said in a press release. Iran has a dreadful track record when it comes to LGBT rights.

The PaykanArtCar is a new vehicle dedicated to highlighting human rights abuses in Iran.

Fines, jail time, whipping, and even execution can be imposed for engaging in same-sex intercourse or relationships. However, there is strong internal opposition to the government’s limitations on Iran’s LGBT minority.

It is from this repressive culture that Shojaian had to flee, and it is this culture that he is now addressing through his art. Shojaian has reclaimed a national icon by painting the Paykan, transforming it into a billboard with its compelling message: that Iran, like any other country, has deep-seated human rights issues that it must address.

The painted Paykan was exhibited at the Human Rights Foundation’s Oslo Freedom Forum in Miami in early October. It was supposed to be shown later that month at Asia Now contemporary art expo in Paris, but the organizers canceled their invitation.

The festival is focusing on Iranian artists this year. After Tehran-based galleries refused to exhibit alongside Shojaian’s pro-LGBT work, the organizers gave in to their demands and disinvited him.

Source: Artnews

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