The Sun Will Rise the Next Day

A video installation, 2019

Minnesota Street Project, Once at Present

 

The Sun will Rise the Next Day is a video installation piece in honor and remembrance of hundreds of men and women who have become prisoners of conscience in Iran over the past eight years (2011-2019). From a young woman of 19 to an 80-year-old mother, they fought for the peaceful expression of their political, religious, sexual and cultural beliefs and identities. The Iranian government, however, has continued to deny them this voice and freedom.

 

These women and men broke their silence and took action and fought for many reasons, to defend their fundamental rights as varied as fighting to be paid for their work as teachers and labors around the country, to animal and environmental rights. Many waves of civil unrest in various parts of the country have concluded in arrests and prolonged imprisonments; strikes in Khuzestan province against violations of labor laws and back due to payments, many environmentalists were arrested fighting for the protection of vulnerable animal populations such as the cheetah, journalists and lawyers who became a voice of prisoners like Hengameh Shahidi and Nasrin Sotoudeh, people who talked about their different religion or beliefs such as Darvish or Bahai like Kasra Nouri (lawyer) and Azita Rafiezadeh (teacher). Women, in particular, continued to protest against the mandatory hijab and the prohibitions against the public congregation. While in prison, they all had one common concern; that of being heard for what they are fighting.

 

The silent projection of the names of the prisoners only becomes visible when a  viewer approaches the installation. These are names that are not easily heard, overlooked, and forgotten, yet they are also the names of people without whom change is not possible. As these names reflect onto the viewers’ bodies, they turn the viewers into witnesses for the people hidden within the system that has now become visible with their presence.

 

Photo by Scott Chernis