The Azadi (“Freedom”) tower is one of Tehran’s most recognizable 20th-century landmarks. Built under the reign of the last Shah of Iran, it was finished in 1971 and named Shahyad Tower (Shah Memorial Tower). Following the 1979 revolution, associations with royalty were swiftly removed. Now, it’s being associated with freedom from the very regime which renamed it.
The Iranian graphic designer Jalz has drawn on the tower for one of his designs in support of the recent protest movement. “This is the sole image of Iran’s freedom,” argues Jalz. Combining an image of the tower with Matisse’s dancers and the “women, life, freedom” protest slogan which is so central to the movement, he wanted to complete the sense of freedom for the female body.
Jalz’s work comes in response to a wave of protests across Iran in the wake of the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in hospital on September 16 having been arrested, and reportedly beaten, by Iran’s so-called “morality police ” for flouting the country’s misogynistic dress laws. Since then, the protests have spread across Iran, calling for women’s