"Her Story" a project for International Women's Day in March 2010. Stories told from a daughter's view of her mother's life growing up. Accompanied with photo collages and mixed-media installations.


 

 

"It is the middle of a night in 1983. The sirens go on. It is a red one announcing that bombers are approaching Tehran.  We need to wake up and take refuge.  Mom comes and nicely tries to wake us up. We resist, we like the adrenaline rush, we don’t comprehend what dying under rubble means. We like her close by. We are 7 and 9.  She pulls me and my sister out of our beds and we join the neighbors under the staircases, in the 'refuge.'  There is fear, uncertainty and anticipation, crying, prayers, mumbling, and a lot of closeness waiting for fate to make its passage.  Mom consoles the scared ones until the ‘white’ sirens allow us to go back."

"It is the first Saturday of the month in 1984. Time to visit Dad in prison.  Mom drives us and grandma to the suburbs where the jail is, in the middle of an arid land, behind gray tall walls, with a lot of families outside, waiting.  There is anticipation of whether a visit would be granted or not, how the prisoner will look like and feel this time around. Do they have a sentence yet?  How are they treated? We make friends in the waiting area. We have missed school. It is fun.  We play.  Mom waits in lines for hours along with other wives and mothers of political prisoners.  We finally get in to the other side of the gray walls.  Waiting again behind an ugly metal door for our names to be called.  'Mohsenin Family. Next.'  We stand up. Before going in, Mom stops us and says: ‘pull your shirt’s red sleeves out and roll them over the gray sleeves.'  We are in our gray school uniforms matching the Islamic scarves.  ‘Let him see some color,’ she says.  We go in, Dad behind the glass windows, we both pick up the phone receivers to talk.  'Nice shirts girls, you look good in red!' says Dad."

"It is March 19th, Mom is still not home.  We worry about Nowruz (Persian New Year) and not having something new to wear.  How sacrilege, how unprecedented!  How can she work so late when we don’t have anything new for the new year?  Where is she?  We go to bed looking at the new shiny black shoes that don’t have a dress to go with.  We wake up in the morning. Worried.  Roll out of bed and there they are: two beautifully sown red dresses, customized, lovely, and brand new.  Mom stayed up all night to finish them after she got back from work, late."

Selected stories.

© 2019 Avisheh Mohsenin​

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