From July 14 2023 to August 27 2023

This is not a scarf

Somaye Farhan

 La Centrale galerie Powerhouse is proud to present the window exhibition This is not a scarf by artist Somaye Farhan, from July 14 to August 27, 2023.

This is not a scarf is a work inspired by decades of religious and systematic oppression of the freedom of performance of women in Iran. The creation of this body of installations is triggered by the recent explicit crimes against women and the death of Mahsa Amini on September 20th, 2022, In Iran. A bronze-casted pair of hands sit in the gallery’s vitrine, adorned by a selection of headscarves. The headscarves were donated by Montreal’s Iranian diaspora, an act of offering that becomes an integral part of the work. 

A closer look at the work reveals an imprint of the voices of the women who took part in a public intervention performance at Place des Arts in October 2022, where Somaye Farhan was accompanied by performance artist Elahe Moonesi. On the public stairs of Place des Arts, a pile of scarves was made available to spectators. Bystanders and passersby were invited to take one and attach it to the performers' bodies in any way they wished. A long piece of white cloth was carried down the stairs, on which spectators could write a note about their feelings regarding the recent events in Iran. The participants' contributions were then traced and screen-printed onto the scarves.

The vitrine exhibition’s likeness to a storefront of enthralling scarves begs the question of the function of the scarf as an object. In Iran, the scarf is emblematic of beauty and the "protection of women from the male gaze". When scrutinized, the disturbing subjectivity behind this object prevails. Cast in the heavy alloy of bronze, the fabric reveals its forced function. Behind this beauty lies a long history of oppression and resistance.

This window installation includes documentation of the performance This is not a scarf. Because this is a video projection, the best moment to view the installation is after 7 pm.


Somaye Farhan 2022 © All Rights Reserved


This is not a scarf

Performers : Somaye Farhan and Elahe Moonesi

Director of photogaphy : Soha Ebrahimzandi

Photos : Negar Jafari

Steadicam operator : Sebastian Molnar

Costume designer : Pantea Pezeshkan

Production assistants : Alan Gogi and Louise Callier



Somaye Farhan (born in Tehran, lives, and works in Montreal, Canada) is a multi-disciplinary artist working in the mediums of performance, video art and sculpture. She is currently pursuing a BFA in Studio at Concordia University (Montreal). Somaye explores the themes of women, especially women of Iran, identity, and Self. She has exhibited her works in Nepal at Siddhartha Art Gallery (Kathmandu, Nepal) and in Canada at the VAV gallery (Montreal, Quebec).

Image : This is not a Scarf, 2022. Somaye Farhan