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Back to Programme '23

Crafted Liberation

From headscarves to stadium seats, Crafted Liberation celebrates Iranian Women's resilience in the pursuit of gender equality

An exhibition to immerse visitors in the experiences of Iranian women. The stadium seats, composed of recycled headscarves generously contributed by Iranian women from around the world, stands as a visual representation of the unity and shared struggle against political and societal constraints.

Collective Action to Initiate Change

Gender inequality and restrictions on women's freedoms have been persistent issues in Iran for years. At 22 years old, Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish-Iranian woman, was arrested and died in Iranian ‘moral’ police custody in 2022 due to an improper headscarf violation. Her death sparked widespread protests among Iranian women worldwide, demanding justice for Amini, despite the risk of arrest and persecution.

To voice for those often silenced, we launched a collective call for action, inviting Iranian women globally to donate their unwanted headscarves for this transformative project. Their contributions led to the creation of the exhibited stadium seats and collectively we transform a traditional symbol of oppression to a beacon of empowerment.

Stadium Seats As Objects of Empowerment

Since 1981, Iranian women have been banned from attending men's sporting events in stadiums, justified by preserving modesty and gender segregation. We aim to redefine these seats by crafting a grandstand from donated headscarves. It symbolizes rejection of deep-rooted oppression and the empowerment of women.
Using a combination of lamination and compression moulding techniques, we created a unique material by combining the donated headscarves with recycled polymers, while honoring the composite materials traditionally used in stadium seat construction. The mixed materials are transformed into sheets and formed into bucket seats, through Talon Technology’s 'WasticFibre’ process.
The headscarves donated by Iranian women enable us to create the grandstand, embodying the shift from enforced tradition to empowered liberation. Our vision is to reimagine a future where headscarves are no longer obligatory, where every woman has equal rights.

Collaboration with Innovative Australian Manufacturing Partners

This exhibition was made possible through collaboration with Australian manufacturing partners, Talon Technology and Defy Design.
Talon Technology develops innovative products and materials, including 'WasticFibre’, a patented process that combines recycled plastic bags with fabric to create flexible composite sheets, which in this case are processed into the exhibited bucket seat form. Their initiative, 'Local Plastic Microfactory' aims at making plastic recycling accessible in small communities.
Defy specializes in designing and manufacturing impactful products made from plastic waste, with a mission to stop production of virgin plastic and keep all existing materials in circulation. By providing us with their facilities, Defy enabled some of the early experimentations, generating learnings about the material at hand.
Nila Rezaei is an award winning designer with a strong focus on developing physical products and experiences that make a positive impact on society, and the environment. Her primary goal is to design sustainable and regenerative objects that not only fulfill utilitarian needs but also create delightful experiences that connect with users on an emotional level.

About RK Collective

RK-Collective is a collaboration between Nila Rezaei and Christopher Krainer. Nila, an Iranian-Australian designer, is known for creating products that evoke discourse rather than being an instrument of utility and Chris, an Austrian born product innovator brings in his acumen in product development and project management. Both are driven by the shared belief in design's transformative power and their collective aims to address contemporary environmental, societal and ethical problems.

Stadium seats crafted from repurposed scarves