Woman, Life, Freedom and the power of collective art

A discussion with artist-activist Hajar Moradi

March 8, 2024

This event has passed.

Six marchers carry a long white banner with black capital letters that read WOMAN LIFE FREEDOM down a Toronto city street. Behind them, a parade of women carry other protest signs for international Woman's Day. Partially obscured.

Photo by Aida Parnia

Event details

Canadian Museum for Human Rights Manitoba Teachers’ Society Classrooms, Level 1
Language and Accessibility:
This event is offered primarily in English. Our building strives to be accessible to all.

Through its expressive forms, art transcends barriers of language and ideology…. If done right, it can change society.

Hajar Moradi

Join us on International Women’s Day for an interactive discussion with the Iranian‐Canadian artist who led the collective creation of the “Woman, Life, Freedom” banner. The banner, currently installed in the Community Corridor at the CMHR, features the English version of the rallying cry that reverberated around the globe after Jina (Mahsa) Amini was arrested by Iran’s morality police in September 2022 for wearing her hijab incorrectly. The 22‐year‐old died in custody.

Read more about the “Woman, Life, Freedom” art installation.

On March 8, Hajar will speak to the current realities for women and queer people in Iran. “For decades, Iranian people — especially women, ethnic minorities and the queer community — have faced a brutal lack of human rights under the Iranian government's strict Islamic regime,” she says. “Mahsa Amini's death struck a chord with so many because it symbolized the countless other women who have suffered similar fates, silenced by oppressive systems.” 

The tragic loss heightened Hajar’s commitment to advocating gender equality and social justice through artistic expression and activism.

She will share how she and a group of volunteers created the banner, show behind‐the‐scenes photos and videos, and talk about collecting the messages that adorn the banner. The collaborative project provided an opportunity to cultivate community bonds and spur dialogue. 

Hajar explains that “collective art possesses a unique power to effect social change due to its ability to engage, unite, and mobilize communities in ways that individual artistic expressions often cannot achieve.”

Following her talk, there will be an opportunity to ask Hajar questions. Afterward, participants are invited to contribute their own messages of solidarity. 

The banner will soon leave the CMHR Community Corridor and be returned to the artist for additions and upkeep. Then it moves on to another national museum, where it will become part of the permanent collection.