30 Jun 2023 - 17 Jul 2023

SumMary of Muscle Memories

Bavan Gallery


The turbulent landscape of women’s presence in the sports scene is very similar to their perilous presence in the art scene. It is obvious that the systematic patriarchal structure views both of these fields in the same manner, and it is almost certainly the same in every other field as well. This form of discrimination is evident in women’s share in the economy of sport, and their share in the economy of art. The issue remains the same with women’s share in the museums and institutions compared to men, the sports complexes dedicated to women, and thousands of other domains. This phenomenon is not limited to Iran, it is a global construct. The works of Maryam Amirvaghefi focus on this share, the part she wants to have, in contrast to what she is given.

The sexist outlook of Iranians toward women’s presence in the unsafe realms of arts, sports, and economy, brings these two fields much closer together. Before even dreaming of claiming their share, women artists or athletes have to battle their families, their fathers and brothers, to be able to even pursue any of these domains. A type of fighting against domestic patriarchy, which results in being trained and prepared to fight with the institutionalized patriarchy within the society, and to win the rights they’re entitled to.

Therefore, any woman that picks up a paintbrush, or trains in sports, is taking part in this protest to reclaim and regain her share in the most radical way possible. These sorts of battles occur in art, sports, and any other domain that has an anti-women structure. Through this daily practice of liberation, the ideas of freedom and claim to rights will inevitably expand. The current social landscape of Iran is a result of these personal and individual battles, which have now evolved into a greater movement.

As a woman, existing, being present, persisting and progressing, is in itself a protest, let alone choosing to step into the paths of art or sport. An image of an apple presented by an Iranian woman artist is viewed as a radical move in this context, which is also a result of many years of resistance.

The presence in itself is persistence.

Shabahang Tayyari
Spring 2023

Press release from Bavan Gallery