In August 2021, Maral was invited to have a two week residency at Level Centre to explore Tale of Tresses, alongside developing her artistic practice.
Week One was a virtual residency and Maral spent the week exploring a new series of jewellery, developing the jewellery and artistic polemic developed during her MA studies at Birmingham City University.
She documented her journey on twitter: @MaralMamaghani
For Week Two, Maral went to the Level Centre with Leila McQuaid, dancer with Iranian heritage and was welcomed by Kerry Andrews, the centre director. During this week, Maral investigated the complex relationship between the dancer and the jewellery which she wore.
Tale of Tresses explores the stories of female migrants and refugees through dance, jewellery, and costume. Maral’s contemporary jewellery, made with human hair, is used in performance and worn by a solo dancer. Each piece of jewellery represents an element of Maral’s identity, and the jewellery as a collection represents Maral’s intersectionality as a Deaf Female Refugee.
About Artist Maral
Maral graduated with an MA from the school of Jewellery and Silversmithing from Birmingham City University in 2017. During her time at BCU, she created work that drew on her experience as a Deaf Iranian woman with feminism, oppression and the forced wearing of the hijab [veil] in Iran. As a woman in Iran, you are not allowed to uncover your hair, talk about feminism or sexuality, as these are taboo subjects.
Leaving Iran and studying in the UK gave Maral a new perspective on the issues surrounding women’s rights. She began to use human hair as a material within her work, the hair representing the long term political struggle that exists in Iran.
Maral explored this conceptually by creating a series of brooches using her own and her Iranian friend’s hair.
Each brooch is unique, designed to match each person that has donated their hair. The hair decorates the brooch using patterns and symbols to represent the personality of the wearer, and the stories that they, as women, reflect upon.
The structure of the brooch is made with a coconut shell, resembling a woman’s breast. The intention is to challenge the male patriarchy in Iran; you force me to cover my hair for modesty, to protect myself from men’s lustful gaze, but it is YOU that can’t control yourself. If I wear my hair on my ‘breast’, do I still break your rules?