Freedom Stop, Etemad Gallery, 2013
Freedom Stop is the artist’s third series and more than his previous work it contains traces of his social experiences living in a politicized society. As evident from the title of the work it simultaneously refers to two things: the name of a bus and metro station in Tehran, as well as the concept of liberty as something we continuously aim for. The artist ingeniously uses the form of a hand to refer to both of these concepts in Freedom Stop.
At first glance one observes a number of different shaped hands, representing men, women, and children. The hands are gripping familiar bus and metro handrails with such determination, as if their hard-gained place could be lost at any moment. The work refers to the day-to-day experiences of millions of people who spend hours commuting, holding on to these cold handrails just to make ends meet. In this process of survival the hands in the series have almost stretched out of proportion and turned into another form.
At the same time the hands are also reminiscent of fists that symbolize the protests of the early days of the Islamic Revolution; protesters with fists in the air chanting for freedom and liberty. The similarity between hands grabbing a handrail in public transportation, with hands raised in protest, is what makes up the core of Freedom Stop. By combining meaningless handrails and empty grips that have really nothing to lose the project represents the transition of liberty as an ideal; a narrative of the current condition of people trapped in a quotidian struggle for survival. Hands once lifted in protest are now resolutely hanging on for survival.