Front painting

The Art of Resistance

This painting was created by a former woman political prisoner from Iran.
This painting was created by a woman former political prisoner

A missing page in a vibrant history of Iranian women’s studies and activism since the 1970s is the struggle of women political prisoners.  With the coming to power of the Islamic regime in Iran, women became the first target of political and social suppression.  There were many women among the several thousand prisoners who were executed in the 1980s.

Over the years, some of the prisoners who served their prison terms have been able to leave the country. They, unlike former political prisoners residing in Iran who are not free to write about their prison experience, have produced momentous literature, which provide detailed accounts of theocratic disciplining and punishment of prisoners, torture, rape, execution of husbands, sisters, brothers, parents, comrades and resistance within the prison. This literature is written predominantly in Farsi (Persian), and is thus not widely accessible to international human rights activists, prison abolitionists, feminists and academics. These prisoners have also spoken about their ordeal in art forms such as music, film, painting, and photography that visually depict their individual and collective resistance and atrocities committed against them. The prison literature is significant in its own right, although it is perhaps unique in its details about Islamic theocracy and the gender dimension of its penal practices and policies.



Welcome! On this website, you can:

  • Learn about the new Digital Stories Project on the Current Projects page
  • Browse through visual art created by former political prisoners on the Artwork page
  • Explore past projects and events created by former political prisoners on the Projects and Events page
  • The Resources page contains links to books, music, artwork and reports elaborating on the experiences of former political prisoners worldwide