Sara Mosafari: Reliving Thousands of Suppressed Collective Memories


Image courtesy of the artist.

Reliving Thousands of Suppressed Collective Memories
Sara Mosafari

June 21 – July 15, 2023
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 8, 3 – 5pm

Thursday, June 22, 3 – 5pm
Thursday, June 29, 3 – 5pm
Thursday, July 6, 3 – 5pm

The Red Head Gallery is pleased to showcase Reliving Thousands of Suppressed Collective Memories by Sara Mozafari.

Sara Mozafari’s text-based installation and performance Reliving Thousands of Suppressed Collective Memories serves as a vessel through which the artist will honor thousands of individuals who have been persecuted by the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran over the past forty-four years. Tragically, many of the murdered individuals were clandestinely buried in unknown graves, depriving their families of the opportunity to mourn their loss properly. Honoring these lives lost and amplifying their silent voices, Reliving Thousands of Suppressed Collective Memories engages in the act of belated mourning and illuminates the ongoing violations suffered by the people of Iran following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, striving to raise awareness of these profound injustices. Linking it to the Woman-Life-Freedom Revolution, Mozafari’s work urges an end to the ongoing execution of individuals and advocates for the preservation of lives.


In Iran, there is a longstanding tradition associated with funerals. During this time, close friends or relatives gather at the home of the deceased to participate in meaningful customs. One of these customs involves the preparation of stuffed dates filled with walnuts while whispering Sureh-ye-Hamd, the opening chapter of the Quran, as a gesture believed to bring blessings to the soul of the deceased. These actions hold cultural significance and are carried out as a way to honor the departed individual. Finally, the stuffed dates are shared with the wider community, symbolizing a sense of togetherness and encouraging others to partake in the recitation of Sureh-ye-Hamd for the purpose of bestowing blessings upon the departed soul.

In Mozafari’s adaptation of this tradition, instead of reciting Sureh-ye-Hamd, she will whisper the names of victims who have suffered due to the authorities’ brutality in Iran. Mozafari will personally stuff the dates with walnuts, symbolizing the connection between the victims and their stories. Afterward, she will serve these symbolic treats to the public and invite them to whisper the names of the victims as a way to honor and raise awareness for the Iranian victims.

Reliving Thousands of Suppressed Collective Memories, Video Still. Courtesy of the artist.

Mozafari was born in the summer of 1981 in Tehran, Iran. 1981 is two years after the Islamic Revolution of Iran, a year after the beginning of eight years of war between Iran and Iraq, seven years before the mass execution of Iranian political prisoners. She was born in 1981 in Tehran, Iran, as a woman-to-be, and she left the country when she was 25. Her experiences of this history—and the imprint those experiences have left on her body—form the basis of her artistic work and her research into surveillance, trauma, memory, and belonging in the mental and material spaces.

After immigrating to Canada, her factual perceptions of her home country narrowed to the memories she has and the news she receives on an everyday basis. Sara’s current practice’s primary focus is to recognize space, displacement, and memory in diverse aspects of human identity and social relations.

Sara Mozafari lives and works in Toronto, ON. She received her Honors Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Design from the University of Toronto with distinction in 2017 and her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts, Media, and Design from OCAD University in 2021, for which she received the Dean’s Medal. Her thesis’s core concept focused on visualizing an imaginary space grounded on spatial theories and exploring a relationship between space, displacement, memory, identity, and social relations.

401 Richmond St West Suite 115, Toronto, ON, M5V 3A8 | 416 504 5654 |
Gallery hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 12 – 5 PM
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