What does freedom mean? Through the lens of her camera and a kaleidoscope of the history of women in resistance in the Middle East and North Africa, Mohadjerin put together a multidimensional work. Its varied formats such as photography, collage, text, and historical images, functions as a vessel which takes the viewer on a dreamlike journey neither bound by space nor time. Mohadjerin’s work is permeated with the dueling nature of documentation and art, past and present, pain and joy, war and peace, loss and creation.

This series was part of Mashid’s Artistic Doctoral Research at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and the University of Antwerp. It began as research on female freedom fighters and culminated in a very personal journey to her native Iran.

This resulted in an artist’s book focusing on the private and public world of Iranian women who grew up after the Revolution of 1979, and on places significant to Mohadjerin’s childhood. For these women, the political can no longer be separated from the personal – their bodies, their private and public lives have been and continue to be influenced by the Revolution.


“Thumbs Up” is an adaptation of several Instagram videos posted by Iranian teenager Maedeh Hojabri around 2018. In her videos, she is seen dancing to Western and Iranian pop music, defying the restrictions of the Islamic Republic. She was subsequently arrested, as were many others. The video ends with photos of some of the women who recently died during the women_life_freedom protests in Iran.

Bio: Mashid Mohadjerin explores the boundaries between art and documentary in her work. As a visual artist and photographer, she focuses on silent protests, resilience, social injustice, the body and the invisible. In doing so, she often seeks extremes – documentation and art, past and present, pain and joy, war and peace, loss and creation – which she endeavors to reconcile.