Tehran, Iran (GVO) – A new image by Iranian street artist Black Hand has surfaced today on the artist’s associated Facebook page. The image is in response to the online and offline #LetWomenGoToStadium protests advocating for the presence of women during the Volleyball World League men’s games in Tehran between Iran and the United States.
Iranian street artist Black Hand has long been a fixture on social media, offering timely commentary on events effecting Iran. Black Hand is an anonymous artist or group of artists dubbed the “Iranian Banksy” by some media outlets. Graffiti is illegal in Iran, though authorities allow street art that supports the Islamic Republic. The artist posts photos of the art on an associated Facebook page before they are removed by authorities.
— Golnaz Esfandiari (@GEsfandiari) June 25, 2015
This particular image shows a man wearing the national Iranian football team’s jersey, thrusting a bottle of dishwashing liquid reminiscent of players holding up the World Cup trophy. A similar Black Hand image initially appeared in July 2014 with a woman posing in with dishwashing liquid around the time that the team was competing in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The artist explained on the comment section of his photos post that the image appears in the same location as the July 2014 one, across from Tehran’s Park Saee.
— Saeed Valadbaygi (@SaeedBaygi) July 14, 2014
The June 19 volleyball match caused much excitement after the government announced some women would be allowed entry, despite the long-standing ban on women attending women’s sporting events. Two hundred of the 12,000 seats in the stadium were reserved for women. Security officials, however, denied the entrance of these ticket holders a few hours before the start of the game.
Written by Mahsa Alimardani for Global Voices Online.