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Bolouri Maral


From Iran to Kenya, it is the subjugation of women in countless settings that has compelled Bolouri to make provocative art, expressing her aversion to gender discrimination. She observes the effects that various religious texts have had on the role and treatment of women and uses her art to communicate the unreasonable demands made of women and the inequality of opportunity and freedom between the sexes.

Sometimes subtle, other times overt, Bolouri’s suggestive illustrations expose the impertinence of some religious teachings and practices that first objectify women and then, rather ironically, place them at the bottom of the food chain. For those blind to the more inconspicuous disparities that exist in a sexist society, she exposes the nuances of the gender struggle, hoping to instigate questions about our irrational gender socialisation process and the collective constructs we thoughtlessly endure.


Using elements of Persian miniature painting including Persian motifs, features from Persian architecture and illustrations drawn within rectangular stalls, her ink-work, photocopy transfers and drawings are triggered by both current affairs and observations of the history of mankind. Looking at the effects of tradition and law in multiple societies, Bolouri takes a bold step exposing the powers that proliferate the injustices of our world.


Growing up with a large collection of art books at home, Bolouri’s parents fostered her interest in the arts and in her last year of high school, she began private art classes under the mentorship of award-winning graphic designer and Illustrator Hafez Miraftabi, who she says “opened her eyes to a world of drawing, poetry, art history and drama.” In 2001, she attended pre-university at the Soureh University of Fine Art. Later she graduated from the Art University of Tehran in 2008, followed by a Master’s program in Malaysia at the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, where she pursued a research-based course in International Contemporary Art and Design Practice.


And so, from the tense milieu in Tehran, where Bolouri was born and raised, to the mad-cap city of Nairobi, where she currently shares a studio with her husband, artist Andrew Mwini, at Kuona Trust Arts Centre, Bolouri explores the gender stereotypes imposed on women.


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