Six sessions programmed by Arefeh Riahi. Open to the public.

This program is to raise greater critical awareness of the ongoing situation in Iran, and to provoke thoughts on this great opportunity to imagine a society otherwise — not only in Iran but across the world. Furthermore, it is to support conversations and reflections on the role of imagination as resistance — imagination as a gesture that cannot be surveilled by state authorities.


APRIL 11, 18, 25

MAY 16, 23, 30



I visited Tehran during and after the peak of the “Woman, Life, Freedom” uprising in 2022, and was confronted by its reality on ground level, as well as the palpable sense of an impending paradigm shift — the prospect and potential of entering into a new yet wholly unknown ideological territory.

Returning to the Netherlands, I was stuck by a kind of othering gaze towards the situation in Iran, characterising is as a politically regressive social context, incomparable to the ‘western’ world.’

Seemingly, few picked up on the underlying universal paradigm that supports the structure of our world — patriarchy as an embedded orthodoxy in the collective human perception.

I observed a lack of scrutiny of how many institutionalised systems there, are actually born of and will always remain rooted in a patriarchal mindset. While a country such as the Netherlands has undertaken many civil reforms in order to safeguard against discrimination of women, there remain many manifestations of inequality, unacknowledged by legal systems and rather enmeshed in cultural mentality. Can we imagine what it would be to overhaul such systems — to imagine another mentally, an alternative sensibility?


Arefeh Riahi (b. 1979, Tehran) is a visual artist and researcher currently based in The Hague. Her performances, videos, installations, drawings, texts and paintings take up questions of archiving and anarchiving, undecidability, body and space potentialities, relation to power, censorship, translatability, and the multiplicity of interpretation. Her work has been exhibited at the Silk Road Gallery (Tehran, Iran), Cinema Museum (Tehran, Iran), Gallery Isabelle Van den Eynde (Dubai, UAE), Sesc Vila Mariana (Sao Paulo, Brazil), the 13th Delhi Photo Festival (India), Pratt Institute (Brooklyn, NY), 1646 Project Space (The Hague, NL), Gemak (The Hague, NL), The Peace Palace (The Hague, NL) Gallery Nouvelle Images (The Hague, NL) and REDCAT; Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (Los Angles, CA). She is a graduate of the Azad University, Tehran, and Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten, Den Haag.


Graphic design by Emirhakin