My present artwork manifests the fight for human rights for the voiceless.

My recent work, Flight PS752 – Flight 655, follows from my firm belief that dissent is vital to bringing about awareness of these issues and also illustrating the importance of political strategies that would reduce violence.

The Ukrainian jet flight PS752 that crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran’s airport on Wednesday, January 8th, 2020, killing all 176 people on board, was carrying entire families, award-winning scientists, university students, and a young married couple who had traveled back to Iran for their wedding. Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 went down in a field just hours after Iran fired two dozen missiles at Iraq military bases that house US troops, immediately sparking outcry and speculation that the jet might have been caught up in the attack.

Furthermore, Iran Air flight 655 was shot down by the missile cruiser USS Vincennes on July 3, 1988, over the Strait of Hormuz, killing all 299 people on board. This terrible mistake is often forgotten in the US. In Iran, it remains a national outrage.

I utilize in-depth storytelling on both flights to bring into light the role of art in the documentation of historical situations that are repeated through time, which has implications for eventual inclusion in a forthcoming cycle. I explore the dynamics between art and power and the way these traumatic historical events are embodied in our collective psyches.

On Quiet Thought, 2019:

When Neda Agha-Soltan was shot and killed by government security forces and her horrifying death captured on video for the entire world to see, a poem appeared and began to circulate on the Internet. The author, identified only as Mandana, made Neda the voice—in Persian Neda means “voice”—and the face of all innocent casualties of despotism:

A Poem for Neda Agha Soltan (1982-2009)

Stay, Neda—

Look at this city

At the shaken foundation of palaces,

The height of Tehran’s maple trees,

They call us “dust,” and if so

Let us sully the air of the oppressor.

Don’t go Neda.

During hard times, we Iranians have always taken solace from our poets. The poetic lineage of New Persian (what we speak today) stretches back over a thousand years. In this tradition we find words to express our grief, shape our anger, and sustain our hope. When facing the government’s security forces assigned to crush any sign of defiance, we only have to look back to our poets for inspiration and for models of resistance.

Giselle Davis