A few weeks ago Black Hand — an Iranian graffiti artist — painted an image of a young woman wearing Iran’s soccer national team’s jersey and raising a bottle of dish-washing soap (called Jaam which means championship cup in Farsi). The graffiti refers to prohibiting Iranian women from going to stadiums to support their teams and reinforces a political culture that encourages women to stay at home.
It didn’t take the government too long to cover Black Hand’s graffiti with red paint, and soon enough the whole wall was covered. But the conversation continued on social media when the people of Tehran saw a new painting on the exact place by someone who might be their very own Banksy. This new artwork employed the same collage and painting style and showed a bearded man with a conservative shirt— closely resembling the same people who painted over his original graffiti.
According to IranWire, in April 2014 Black Hand exhibited his work on the walls of a historical building in central Tehran, devoting each room to a unique social issue. Iranian artists use graffiti and street art, among other media, both to express themselves and negotiate public space to discuss social issues. Black Hand is only one of the numerous underground artists in Iran and his exhibition is neither the first — nor will it be the last — underground exhibition of its kind.