Woman, Life, Freedom

Courtesy of the Ehsan Hazaveh.

Courtesy of the Ehsan Hazaveh.

7 Feb – 10 Feb

Ehsan Hazaveh, Sahar Fanian

Enjoy is privileged to host Woman, Life, Freedom, a four day exhibition of work by Sahar Fanian and Ehsan Hazaveh, curated by the Iranian Solidarity Group Aotearoa.


On 13 September 2022, Kurdish-Iranian Jina Mahsa Amini was arrested by the morality police for allegedly violating mandatory dress code regulations for women. Under suspicious circumstances, she fell into a coma while in custody and passed away three days later in a hospital. The circulation of a viral photo showing her on life support machines sparked nationwide protests in Iran known as the Woman, Life, Freedom protests, which is originally a Kurdish phrase. These demonstrations quickly spread to other countries, leading to a global social uprising with support from local communities. For example, in Berlin, nearly 100,000 people protested on 22 October in solidarity with the Iranian protests, marking the largest demonstrations against the Iranian government since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Iranians in New Zealand also held numerous protests in Wellington, Auckland, and Christchurch to show their support.

Since the protests began, Iranian immigrants abroad have been devastated as they received distressing news from their home country. More than 500 people, including 68 minors, have been killed, and hundreds of protesters have been injured. Nearly 20,000 have been arrested, including journalists, some of whom remain in custody. The government has severely restricted internet access, leaving them with gatherings and demonstrations as their only means of support.

Amidst these protests, the experiences and emotions of Iranians abroad, as well as their feelings towards the victims, are often overlooked. This exhibition showcases staged actions with Iranian activists who have deeply immersed themselves in the tragic events in Iran. The photos strive to depict instances of what happened in Iran during the uprising, as seen through the eyes of the performers. Despite residing in a peaceful country, we are confronted daily with alarming news from our homeland. The exhibition intends to convey the experiences of the Iranian diaspora in Aotearoa.

Curated by Iranian Solidarity Group Aotearoa

Past Event

Opening: Woman, Life, Freedom

Join us to celebrate the work of Sahar Fanian and Ehsan Hazaveh, and learn more about the Woman, Life, Freedom movement and the Iranian Solidarity Group Aotearoa.


More info

Sahar Fanian
Sahar Fanian is an emerging Iranian-Canadian documentary filmmaker dedicated to highlighting social issues and sharing stories of individuals striving for positive change. Sahar has an undergraduate degree in Film Studies and a Masters in Public Health. Her first short documentary profiles Hanna, one of the key activists behind Wellington's Women Life Freedom movement. Sahar is currently working on documenting more stories of the inspiring women behind the movement as part of a larger project called 'Women Rising'. Sahar lives in Wellington and is currently walking Te Araroa from Bluff to Cape Reinga. She plans to make a documentary about her journey on the trail.

Ehsan Hazaveh
Ehsan Hazaveh is an independent Iranian photographer based in New Zealand. He has over a decade of experience in documentary and commercial photography. Ehsan has been commissioned by leading companies and organisations for his precise attention to detail and work ethic. Since 2010, his works have been featured in high-profile publications such as The Guardian, Art New Zealand, Stuff, NZ Herald, NZ Lifestyle, and Organic NZ magazine.

Ehsan holds a PhD in Media Studies from Victoria University of Wellington and an MFA from the University of Tehran. He was the first student to pursue a practice-based PhD in Media Studies in New Zealand. He has been awarded the Wellington International Student Excellence Award in the Creativity category (2021) and the Postgraduate Research Excellence Award from Victoria University of Wellington (2019).

He has produced four major exhibitions titled My Life To Live (2019), Memento (2021), Here We Are (2022), Here and Beyond (2023), and Woman, Life, Freedom (2023). Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern officially opened My Life To Live at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery in 2019. The exhibitions challenge the stereotypical understanding of marginal groups by amplifying their voices and experiences. The exhibitions toured New Zealand to raise awareness and challenge myths about minorities.

Iranian Solidarity Group Aotearoa
The Iranian Solidarity Group Aotearoa, a collective of volunteer Iranian expatriates based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, is committed to advocating for freedom in Iran. Formed on September 19, 2022, in response to the tragic death of Jina Mahsa Amini, the group is dedicated to increasing awareness and seeking justice for crimes perpetrated by the Islamic Republic. They focus their efforts on supporting the Woman, Life, Freedom revolution in Iran.