Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death

Solo Exhibition
11 February - 11 March 2023

Exhibition Opening: Saturday 11 February 2023
Exhibition Closure: Saturday 11 March 2023

WHATIFTHEWORLD is pleased to present Give me liberty or give me death, a solo exhibition by Sepideh Mehraban.

This body of work is my homage to the women-led uprising in Iran. The world has witnessed the bravery of Iranian women fighting against the discriminatory laws of the Islamic Republic over the last four months. Many have been arrested, tortured, and killed by the regime. The violent suppression has not stopped the uprising. The images depicted in the paintings are taken from social media, showcasing Iranian school girls and women leading the demonstrations. The paintings combined with 1979 Iranian newsprints parallels these two revolutions in the contemporary history of Iran. This time women’s bodies and voices can not be obliterated from history, as they are in the front line of fighting for freedom.

Text by Sepideh Mehraban.


Artist Biography

Sepideh Mehraban was born in 1986 in Tehran, Iran. She currently lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa. Mehraban obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Alzahra in Tehran, Iran, in 2009, where she also obtained her Masters in Fine Arts degree in 2011. In 2012 Mehraban furthered her studies by obtaining a postgraduate diploma in Fine Arts followed by a second Masters in Visual Arts degree from Michaelis School of Fine Arts in Cape Town, South Africa. She recently completed her thesis and a solo exhibition titled THIS IS NOT PROPAGANDA towards awarding a doctorate of Philosophy in Visual Arts at the University of Stellenbosch. In 2018, Mehraban notably curated a group exhibition titled Cape to Tehran: Re-imaging and re-imagining personal history in post-Apartheid South Africa and post-revolutionary Iran, at Gallery MOMO in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa.

Selected group exhibitions include The Space and Place, a group exhibition, at Galerie EIGEN + Art in Leipzig 2021; In Your Shadow I Masking Realities, at SMAC Gallery in Cape Town 2021; Surroundings, at Suburbia Contemporary Gallery in Florence in 2020, as well as 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, London; The Female Line at SMAC Gallery in Cape Town; Unresolved Category at Gallery MOMO in Cape Town; The Main Complaint at Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town; Monochrome at Barnard Gallery in Cape Town; Rendezvous at SMITH Studio in Cape Town, all in 2019. Cape to Tehran at Gallery MOMO in Cape Town and Johannesburg; Close Encounters at SMITH Studio in Cape Town, both in 2018; SS17 at Gallery MOMO in Cape Town; Distill Motion at SMITH Studio in Cape Town; A Painting Today at Stevenson Gallery in Cape Town; Art Meets Camera: Closer than ever, curated by Michaela Limberis at Gallery MOMO in Cape Town, all in 2017 and Charting, curated by Andrew Lamprecht at Eclectica Contemporary Gallery in Cape Town in 2016.

Solo exhibitions include THIS IS NOT PROPAGANDA, Mehraban’s graduate exhibition towards completing her Ph.D. at the University of Stellenbosch at SMAC Gallery in Stellenbosch in 2021. Until The Lions Have Their Own Historians, The History Of The Hunt Will Always Glorify The Hunter at SMITH Studio in Cape Town in 2019, and Retracing Memories, at Golestan Gallery in Tehran in 2015.

Mehraban’s work forms part of public and private collections such as Alzahra University in Tehran, Iran; the University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa; Spier Arts Trust, Cape Town, South Africa; Thulamela Chambers, Johannesburg, South Afri- ca; Norval Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa; A4 Arts Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa and the Luciano Benetton Collection, Italy.