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Artdom: The Future of Femininity and Freedom

The Artdom Project

Women in Art

Women in the earlier times were often known as fragile, emotional and to be protected. Never expected to pursue a career but always envisioned to conceive. Lynda Nead once stated in her book, “The Female Nude: Art, Obscenity and Sexuality” that women are often portrayed as a token of elegance and lust yet were forbidden in the production of the depiction. To overcome these hurdles, the Artdom project was created.

The Mastermind 

(image source: Artdom)

Arghavan, born in Iran, fled her country at the age of three with her family. Breaking the gender norms with just one motto in life, to be free. She believed that art was a carrier of message. That through art she could exhibit a stronger message that their voices couldn’t reach. 

Why Artdom?

(image source: Indian Express)

The movement to abolish limitations on women in art became crucial. The Artdom Project became the movement. Arghavan used her creative freedom to tell stories about women’s rights. Which is something that wouldn’t have been possible if she stayed back in Iran. She wanted to connect with different artists in different countries to understand and showcase their struggles. It was a plea for a more equitable society for female artists.

Artdom Phases: Analyzed 

Artdom enables female representation in art across two countries, crossing cultural boundaries and struggles. This project empowers women to ensure the representation of women in art. There have been three parts of this project consisting of countries such as Iran, Sweden, Pakistan, Norway, India and the United Kingdom.

Part 1 – IranXSweden

(image source: Artdom)

“Freedom” was the theme for the first part of this project. In Arghavan’s words, five paintings, ten life stories. Five artists from Iran visualized their thoughts and sentiments towards freedom by painting half a canvas each. Further, the Paintings were brought to Sweden and finished by five Swedish artists. Out of the five paintings, let’s dive deeper into one of them.

Rights by Maryam Aljaderi, Sweden and Hero Sheikholeslami, Iran (image source: Artdom)

Although both were born in the same country, Maryam and Hero, differ in their thoughts and values in terms of societal norms. Originating from Kurdish, both typically paint Kurdish pieces. Thus making it evident for them to continue the same theme in this project. In the painting, “Rights”, the woman on the right, painted by Hero, is wearing Kurdish traditional clothes. She’s seen dancing a Kurdish dance which for her is freedom. For Maryam freedom meant adding to the painting with a Kurdish Female Peshmerga warrior, a woman soldier as seen on the left side of the piece.

Part 2 – PakistanXNorway

(image source: Artdom)

Part two focused on the theme of Feminism. With ten paintings, one sculpture and twenty-two life stories uniting, Norway and Pakistan began with the collaboration. This phase became a bit difficult due to the advent of the pandemic but Arghavan’s dedication made it all possible.

For Her by Sarwat Gilani, Pakistan and Mia Gjerdrum Helgesen, Norway (image source: Artdom)

The painting, “For Her” helps us understand what feminism meant for Sarwat and Mia. For Sarwat, Feminism is empowering women and uplifting them, by placing flowers in their hair and using ornaments to beautify themselves. Whereas Mia reflects how women are floating around trying to seek their own journey and identity. 

Part 3 – IndiaXUnited Kingdom

(image source: Artdom)

With equality chosen as the theme for the third part, Arghavan started looking at the UK and India, trying to find common ground in skills and spirits. This theme aimed to weave and combine like-minded artists. Nine artists started the process in the UK and then the new nine artists in India completed the piece.

“In her Garden” by Nidhi Mariam Jacob, India and Mellisa Magg, United Kingdom
(image source: Artdom Project)

According to the artists, this painting talks about the vulnerability of women. For them to have equality is to be free. Being exposed, open and honest. Where confidence lies in the defiance. That is what equality is to these women with their upbringing complexities and differences.

Artdom: Overcoming Present-day Obstacles

The painting “Woman” (image source: Artdom Project)

The art world continues to impose new challenges trying to shun women. The exhibition in Tehran is an excellent example of such. This ban on the exhibition in Tehran by the Ministry of Culture in Iran was a harsh reality check. It was that not only were female artists allowed to voice their opinions but also the Iranian women did not generally enjoy the fundamental right of free speech and expression. 

Thus, Artdom did not hold back and was not to be silenced again. Finding an opportunity in this moment of setback, they took the digital path. By reaching an estimated 20 million people online overnight. This ban strives to prove the suppression of female artists trying to make a point and a stand for themselves. 

Four artists from the Artdom project in Iran came together and created the painting “Woman”. Spreading the message of a protest against a woman’s limited freedom. This made more artists join Artdom to restore the much-deserved equality.


The Artdom Project stands as a ray of hope and progress in female representation in art. Striving to create a world less of the bias and equal opportunities for all.

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By Soumya Kotian

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