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Heartland Community College

Reception spotlights There is a Woman on the Wall exhibit

January 17, 2023

Heartland Community College will host a reception for the exhibit There is a Woman on the Wall on February 8 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Joe McCauley Gallery on the main campus.

The multi-media exhibit offers a window into a world of censorship, control, and gender oppression. 

There is a Woman on the Wall, created by Dallas-based artist Shahrzad Hamzeh, offers an intimate experience in which a message dawns on viewers gradually as they move through the room, seeing various “layers” under which a woman is revealed. 

Shahrzad Hamzeh is an Iranian dancer, choreographer, musician, director, actor, writer, poet, photographer, and artist who had to leave Iran to pursue her passion for performance due to the illegality of dance in Iran. 

Hamzeh’s work is built upon her life experience of living under the Islamic Republic government in Iran.

“I have tried, through my work, to showcase what this oppression does to a woman,” said Hamzeh. “Every single work that I have created for this exhibition is an attempt to physically give form to the layers I had to put on myself to maybe be accepted by the Iranian-Islamic society that I was living in.” 

The work has a timely resonance as an ongoing series of protests, frequently led by women, against the Iranian government have made international headlines. 

Hamzeh stated, “What I am expressing here is not only something a woman has to suffer from the individuals in their immediate or extended family, but also at the hands of the government. A recent example of this is what happened to Mahsa Zhina Amini who was killed on September 16, 2022, when in the custody of the Morality Police in Tehran. She was arrested because she was not wearing ‘proper’ Hijab in the eyes of the police, the representative of the Islamic dictatorship regime of Iran.” 

Hamzeh holds a BA in Urdu Literature and Language from the University of Tehran, a MA in Theatre Studies from Illinois State University, and she is now a Ph.D. student at the University of Texas at Dallas. 

The There is a Woman on the Wall exhibit is free and open to the public on weekdays during regular gallery hours.  The exhibit runs through March 3, 2023. 

Joe McCauley Gallery is located in room 2507 of the Instructional Commons Building (ICB) on Heartland's Normal campus, 1500 W. Raab Road. 


Written by: Steve Fast