Wanting to create a poster in the spirit of love, I included a father hugging his son who was released from political imprisonment in the infamous Evin Detention Center in Tehran; drew a sutured heart inside a chalk line of Iran’s borders to show repair, renewal and return from the brink of death sometimes made possible by Iran’s renowned doctors–and to show the possibility of transcending a divided heart, historical quarrels, in the interest of the future; and drew a human figure with the Earth as it’s head to remind us that love for human rights and love for our planet can be mutually supporting.

I included NASA photos of the moon, earth and sun to bring balance and a scientific perspective to religious and political symbols linked to Iran, and to acknowledge that not only the Islamic regime but also some monarchist regimes have had human rights issues. I drew the word “Azadi,” which means freedom in Persian, with the colors of the Iranian flag inside minus a symbol on the white band as a way of proposing that Iran might embark on secular democracy in the pursuit of freedom, and transformed the part of the “A” letter on top of the shaft into a white dove to show the possibility of former political prisoners peacefully staying in Iran and not fleeing the country–if human rights in Iran improve, they are allowed free speech and given other peaceful means of addressing their grievances.

I drew the noose used to formally execute political prisoners in Iran (there are others who die as a result of torture), a single cell in Evin prison based upon recollections by former political prisoners, and “۲۰۹” which is “209” in Persian–the number of the political prisoner ward in Evin. I drew a key moving towards a keyhole with sky behind it to symbolize the fact that even people currently inside the Iranian regime have power to create more freedom for Iranians.

The lettering I designed and drew on the scroll was inspired by the Cyrus cylinder. The ancient Iranian king, Cyrus the Great, is widely credited with creating the first human rights document, freeing slaves and establishing freedom of religion.

Julie Ashcraft A.K.A. Jigsawnovich

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