Fourth journey of the collection: From Evin with love - 3 until 15 May 2022


From Norway to Austria

The collection "From Evin with love" was ridden on an endearment howdah of women to The “Volkskundemuseum” in Vienna. The Iranian Women Society in Austria(IRWSA) and the Amnesty International Network for Women’s Right in Austria (AINWRA),Consulting agency “Kultur und gut” organized and hosted the exhibition and side events. Our special thanks go to Volkskundemuseum Vienna, Cultural Affairs of the Vienna City . Further, we offer our sincer thanks to Mahin Ranjbar,Azam Sanooie, and Hamideh Sohrabi, the board members of IRWSA, and to Shiva Badihi, Flora Bachmann, Astrid De Montis-Randacher, Eva Maria Jenkins-Krumm from AINWRA for their admirable collaboration in helping us hold this distinguished event at the Volkskundemuseum.

Preparing and Installation day

Photos: Eva Maria Jenkins-Krumm, Parastou Forouhar, Mansoureh Shojaee
On the morning of the 2nd of May 2022, Parastoo and Mansoureh were settled in Volkskundemuseum Vienna where they received the magical boxes from Evin, these foreign travellers in diaspora… Mahin Ranjbar and Shiva Badihi from IRWSVA ; Astrid and Eva Maria from AINWRA, and Ümit Mares-Altinok, from “Kultur und gut”, all worked together in harmony... "together we are strong"! A whole working day was spent together where objects were unpacked, installed, had their descriptions and details finalised. Meanwhile, further work was spent ensuring that the correct number of tables were prepared and that they were of sufficient quality, as well as that the correct number of chairs were available for the audience. Parastou even worked to ensured that the tables’ wheels were facing the right direction and her strong hands had the power to turn the wheels in the direction that we, the human rights defenders, wished them to face …!

Opening event

  • Photos: Paula Sieber
  • Music : Iman Khamar
  • Closing music: Nasrin Hobbi and Scherwin Gruber
On the 3rd of May, the opening night's guests arrived. The 150 invited guests included Iranian and Austrian people who visited the handicrafts of Evin’s women prisoners that were incarcerated between 2008-2020. These were the years that informed my biographical research. This time period was selected because 2008 was the first year that the idea of establishing a women museum in Iran came to be. Shiva Badihi moderated the event and the speakers from the host team, and the IAWM and IRWMM presented their speeches in the order listed below:
  • Ümit Mares-Altinok: The Coordinator
  • Dr Claudia Preschel-Wacha, Deputy to the Director of Volkskundemuseum Wien
  • Mag Katharina Richter-Kovari, Cultural Mediation of Volkskundemuseum Wien
  • Negin Rezaie, Linnea Steegmuller, the colleagues of Volkskundemuseum Wien and facilitators of the educational workshop
  • Aurélie Tournan, Managing director of Amnesty International Austria
  • Flora Bachmann, Speaker of the Network for women´s rights Amnesty International Austria
  • Azam Sanoui board member of IWSA
    The special section for the exhibition started with a speech by Stefania Pitscheider Soraperra, an IAWM board member and the Director of the Women’s Museum in Hittisau. She was the distinguished guest of the event and introduced both the IAWM and the Hitissau Women’s Museum. This section was followed by speeches from Mansoureh Shojaee and Parastoo Forouhar.

    Educational workshop for youth

    Photos : Shiva Badihi, Mansoureh Shojaee
    The Idea of an educational Human Rights workshop for youths as a side event of the“From Evin with love” exhibition was created by Mona Holm. Last year, she hosted " From Evin with love" in Kongswinger and she organized the educational workshop alongside her colleague, Vilde. They called the workshop “From Norway with Love”! The Vienna Museum of Anthropology welcomed the idea, and a five workshops on Human Rights and women activist prisoners were held for 59 adolescents. The result of this workshop was children's paintings and handicrafts that were shown in the exhibition. These paintings were presented alongside the handicrafts of the Norwegian workshop.

    Special visiting tours

    Photos: Christopher Glanzl
    The exhibition lasted for 12 days and each day saw several visitors arrive and tours given to special visitors that included: Dr.Eva Ernst-Dziedzic, The Austrian Green party parliament members, Dr, Eva Ernst-Dziedzic,and Ms. Mag Avgul bervian Aslan member of Vienna provincial Parliament, Dr. Mag Stefanie Vasold, member of Vienna provincial Parliament and Vienna City council from Socialist party. It was a formidable occasion , when Ms.Dr. Alma Zadic the Minister of the Judiciary also visited the exhibition.. Further, the Eastern European representatives of Amnesty International,and a huge number people from Vienna’s Iranian Vienna. According to the daily list of the visitor , the exhibition had a total of 700 visitors.

    Persian Story telling night

    Photos: Shiva Badihi
    On the 12th of May, IRWSVA planed a Persian language evening for the Iranian community in Vienna. Shiva Badihi moderated the event. In the beginning, the audience was divided into 2 groups for a “special tour” that was guided by Shiva Nazarahari and Mansoureh Shojaee. The purpose of the tour was to share the story of the prisoners and their handicrafts, their memories, the situation, and the conditions of the place in which the prisoners produced their handicrafts. The program was followed by speeches from Mansoureh and Shiva Nazarahari.

    Closing event

    • Photos: Andrea Klem
    • Music: Iman Khamar
    The closing event organized by the Amnesty International Network for Women’s Rights in Austria(AINWRA). The invited audiences were members of Amnesty in Austria and representatives from Eastern European countries. Mana Momeni, the young member of IRWSVA, skillfully moderated the event. In the beginning , Ilse Heinecker , Member of Amnesty International Austria and Mag. Barbara Wagner, Chair of Amnesty International Austria and member of AINWR presented a brief speech. Shiva Nazarahari and Mansoureh Shojaee performed a digital tour by screening the slides of the handmade objects as they told the stories of each of the memorable objects, the prisoners, and shared their memories. It was a moving presentation for both the performers and the audience. The second section was a panel discussion about Iranian women activists and involved an explanation of the general situation of Human Rights in Iran. This concluded with a Q&A.

    Good bye Vienna, hello another land

    Photos: Ümit Mares-Altinok On May 16, the collection was packed under the supervision of Mahin Ranjbar Astrid, Ümit, and Eva Maria. Now our magical objects are traveling toward other lands, other cities, and other audiences so that they can tell the story of their creators / mothers…

    by: Mansoureh Shojaee