A striking new mural by Feminista Melbourne, an Iranian activist collective in Melbourne’s Inner North, pays tribute to Jîna Amini and stands in solidarity with the Women, Life, Freedom movement.
Feminista Melbourne, a group of artists and activists fighting for the freedom of Iran, created the mural in Brunswick with the support of Merri-bek Council.
Jîna Amini was killed by Iran’s morality police last year, sparking ongoing protests against the regime. “A Graffiti for Jîna” can be viewed at the Brunswick Baths Gym Entry on Phoenix Street, Brunswick.
Nazanin from Feminista Melbourne told Green Left Radio how the collective designed the mural to help passersby remember what happened to Jîna Amini and to feel empowered by the mural’s “message of hope, power and resistance”.
The mural reads: “Jîna dear, you did not die, your name will be our rallying cry”, which are the words Jîna’s family wrote on her tombstone. Poppy flowers are also included in the design, as Nazanin explains they “symbolise the blood of people who have lost their lives in this revolution”.
The mural also depicts the actions of two Iranian female athletes, footballer Fatemah Adeli and rock climber Elnaz Rekabi.
Feminista Melbourne wants to highlight how both women “used the opportunity they had during their competitions to show their resistance in their own way”.
After kicking the winning goal in a local competition, Adeli covered up her face so she did not show any happiness. Rekabi’s protest went viral when she climbed the wall at the Asian Championship climbing competition without wearing her hijab. Nazanin said this was a “moment of hope and [showed] that women are moving away from mandatory hijab”.
The mural also reflects its Brunswick location. Feminista Melbourne added vibrant colours to its original design to fit with the feeling of Brunswick as a “happy place”.
Thirty-four people joined Feminista Melbourne to design and paint the mural. They included professional painters and graffiti artists as well as those who picked up a paintbrush for the first time since kindergarten.
Nazanin explained the mural was not intended to be completed in the “most efficient manner”; they instead wanted to create a safe space for people impacted by the revolution to grieve and share their pain.
“A Graffiti for Jîna” is the 10th public art installation Feminista Melbourne has completed. It was commissioned by Merri-bek Council for Refugee Week 2023.