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Tale of Tresses

by Maral Mamaghanizadeh

Ticket Information
Free to attend

Portsmouth - Aspex Portsmouth, PO1 3BF
13 - 24 October
Wednesday - Sunday: 11.00am - 4.00pm

Leicester - The Gallery, LE2 7PT
15 - 23 October
Monday - Saturday: 12.00pm - 5.00pm


Introduction to Tale of Tresses

The Tale of Tresses is a body for work created by Maral Mamaghanizadeh, a deaf female artist who had to seek asylum in the UK after her MA graduation project was brought to the attention of the Iranian regime.

Maral Mamaghanizadeh graduated with an MA from the school of Jewellery and Silversmithing from Birmingham City University in 2017. During her time at BCU, she creates work that draws on her experience as a Deaf Iranian woman with feminism, oppression and the forced wearing of the hijab [veil] in Iran. As a woman in Iran, you are not allowed to uncover your hair, talk about feminism or sexuality, as these are taboo subjects. Leaving Iran and studying in the UK gave Maral a new perspective on the issues surrounding women’s rights. As a provocation, she cut her hair live on Instagram and created a series of brooches using her own and her Iranian friend’s hair. Each brooch is unique, using patterns and symbols to represent the personality of the woman who donated their hair and risked their personal safety to participate in this work.

Maral then moved into working with ceramics and bone china, making ear jewellery that disrupts the wearers experience of sound and brings the audience closer to an understanding of what if feels like to be deaf in hearing world, asking the wearer; If You Want To Be Alive...Read My Lips!

Throughout COVID -19, Maral began experimenting with filming and performing with her jewellery through a series of short art film commissions and is currently working on Tale of Tresses: Redress, experimenting with jewellery in performance, as both a character in the work and providing instrumentation during the performance, telling the stories of female migrants and refugees. The first stage of this research has been captured on film and exhibited here at Aspex Portsmouth.

Tale of Tresses: Redress is a new film by artist Maral Mamaghanizadeh, exploring the stories of female migrants and refugees through dance, jewellery and costume.

For this work, Maral’s contemporary jewellery, made with human hair, is used in performance and worn by solo dancer Leila McQuaid. Each piece of jewellery represents an element of Maral’s identity and the jewellery as a collection represents Maral’s intersectionality as a Deaf female refugee. Within the film as the dancer moves, the jewellery creates an instrumental chorus of sound accompanying the performance.

Leaving Iran and studying in the UK gave Maral a new perspective on the issues surrounding women’s rights. She began to use human hair as a material within her work, the hair representing the long term political struggle that exists in Iran and the forced wearing of head coverings for women in Iran that Maral opposes.

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Commissioned by the LEVEL Centre, with funding from Arts Council England. 

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