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Women, Life, Freedom: Nat McGartland Takes BookLab to a Community Print in support of the Iranian Women's Movement

November 09, 2022 English

Multiple letterpress printed posters laid on a table printed on brown cardstock with slogan "Women, Life Freedom" printed in red ink in English and black ink in Farsi.

"The press is always political.”

The Clarice's Studio A, in partnership with BookLab, coordinated a community print on Friday, October 21, 2022, at the Adele H Stamp Student Union in support of the Iranian Women's Movement. The activist community print coalesced after weeks of collaboration across the University. It featured letterpress printing, facilitated by BookLab graduate assistant Nat McGartland (English), and screen printing, facilitated by local Iranian-American artist Nilou Kazemzadeh, a UMD alum (BA ’16, MA ’17). Hundreds of attendees learned about the protests in Iran and participated in hands-on card and poster printing. 

McGartland and Kazemzadeh both contributed poster designs and hands-on printing instruction. McGartland designed posters for BookLab’s line-o-scribe roller press in consultation with Sara Ahanchi Markaz (Physics). Attendees printed these placards emblazoned with the protest slogan “Women, Life, Freedom” in both Farsi and English. Kazemzadeh designed several stunning screen prints, and guided attendees through her screen printing process. Kazemzadeh also printed a poster designed by another local artist, Mina Jafari.

Multiple letterpress posters printed on brown cardstock with slogan "Women, Life Freedom" printed in red ink in English and black ink in Farsi, laid on a table. On another table lay many screen prints in black ink with an illustration of an Iranian woman protesting.

On Instagram, Kazemzadeh asked “How does one help a people literally on the other side of the world?” The UMD community refused to keep silent and raised community awareness through printmaking.

McGartland, a feminist printmaker seeking to highlight women's issues around the world, believes “the press is always political”. She was featured in the New York Times last spring for using BookLab’s printing presses at the Supreme Court to protest the leaked Roe decision.

Several posters made it downtown the following day, Saturday, Oct 22, 2022, to a thousands-strong march in Washington, DC, held in support of the Iranian Women’s Movement. Others appeared across campus and on social media. #IranProtests #mahsaamini #WomenLifeFreedom

Nilou's print in collage style of protesting women with Farsi text and English text reading: Share, Hashtag #IRANPROTESTS. BookLab's type are printed over the poster in red ink saying, Women, Life Freedom

Tyler Clifford of The Clarice organized the event with the help of Hartley Carlson ’23, a Printmaking and Neuroscience double Major.

Images Courtesy of Nilou Kazemzadeh and Nat McGartland.

By Shannon Neal