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Its time to open the door – from the sign board in the metro station “Women Only” to folded hands in the Music Concert and the hidden colours of beautiful women’s hair inside their veils..

On the first day itself I saw the sign board in the metro station it is as it usually is, even in India, where the first compartment belongs to women. But I saw it in different way, where a hijab-clad woman is displayed next to which it says “Woman Only”, was satirical for me as I could see that in Iran it is women who face the most restrictions. They are forced to navigate a complex web of restraints, imposed by laws and customs. Every aspect of their existence from how they must dress in public to jobs and education all that they are allowed to do in the workplace is closely regulated.

At a music concert in Tehran- It was an amazing experience to see a Rock band perform in an Islamic country, as since the revolution of 1978, Iran has been living under strict Islamic rule. One law that has been enforced on Iranians is the banning of the performance of western music in public. Jazz, rock, hip-hop, heavy metal and more have been deemed forbidden by the government. But as this was an indoor music concert, with permission of the government. It was performed, and the audience could listen to music and feel it but they couldn’t truly enjoy or express it; while the audience wanted to shout scream and dance they were only permitted to fold their hands.

The veil is compulsory for every Iranian woman and also for foreigners who visit Iran, but under the veil of Iranian women I found amazing hairstyles and beautiful hair colours, women in Tehran love to have short and colourful hair. I found it amazing and I asked many young girls about the hidden freedom, they say we pretend to live one way for the outer world but at the same time love the hidden freedom. We live two lives one for outer world and one for ourselves..

This post has been written by Soghra Khurasani as an account of her artist exchange experience at the Kooshk Residency Centre in Tehran, Iran in April 2016