Mirella Frangella | Photographer
"I was born and raised in Iran. Therefore, the ideas my family and my country gave to me about being a ‘good’ woman was so different to how I think about it today. I don’t want to say that now I am a ‘good woman’, but at least I’m happy. Because I’m more myself with all the mistakes I made and still make. To get away from these rules about what a woman is supposed to be or not to be was so painful, and it took so much energy to fight formy rights. However, I think it was somewhat necessary to have all these experiences.
When you are born as a child, you are a white paper. First family and then school, society, religion, culture, they all tell you how you should be as a woman. Sometimes I felt so guilty because I rather believed that maybe I am bad and should just accept everything. Moreover, for many years I did accept it. Nevertheless, I just realised I’m not happy with that, I don’t feel good and should change it.
I started with small things because it was more realistic to try to change things slowly. One of the first things was not to wear a hijab in front of my cousin at home. I remember the first time when I didn’t wear it felt like I was naked, judging from the the way my cousin, my aunt and my father looked at me. My father told me that it is not respectful and my cousin said: ‘We also don’t like to wear a hijab. But you hurt your people and you make so much trouble. It’s not necessary.’ However, for me it was necessary! For me, it was not right, because they really put us down as women. And I tried to tell them: ‘It is also not respectful of you because you don’t give me my own freedom.’
I was in fights for everything with people, with my family. It was so painful for me because I didn’t hate them. I loved my family and do until this day. But if I wanted to accept them I wasn’t myselfand if I wanted to be myself I wasn’t accepting them. I hurt them by trying to be happy. However, it was also not right to forget about my dreams and myself. Now I’m happy that I didn’t give up.
Why I came to Berlin is a long story. But one of the main reasons I moved to Germany is that I got tired and disappointed to just fight all the time. Of course, I was looking for more freedom to be myself. What I realised was that it’s not working to hate people, to fight all the time. Furthermore, it’s not even working to run away. Therefore, I first tried to forgive them, to make my heart empty from any bad feelings. I tried to understand where they come from, their past, their childhood. I felt sorry for them because they didn’t do this on purpose. They just haven’t learnt anything else. I don’t want to teach, but at least I try to talk to them and share my feelings and give them love. That’s working much better. After some time, they somewhat accepted it. I didn’t talk to my brother for almost ten years and hated him. He always used to say that I’m a bad girl. Now we really love each other. We can talk and listen to each other and even if there is something, we don’t like we still respect and accept that.
In my paintings I try to show what I feel about how much pain we take in. It can be about my own experiences or the experiences of other women. I remember that they told me that I am not allowed to paint a woman with hair. I decided to just remove the hair, but I didn’t want to paint the hijab. For me as an artist it’s a way to talk with my paintings. I hope it can change something.
We should not be scared of being judged. People always judge. And we try to make other people happy and forget about ourselves. We should put ourselves first and then we can love others. I hope we can change it in a better way than with fighting and hating. I hope we can change it in a peaceful way, with love and information. We should just talk about what we really want. And we shouldn’t be scared of making mistakes. We are humans and sometimes it’s necessary to make mistakes. We shouldn’t be ashamed of that. We should be braver. So I would like to say to people that if they’re not happy with something they should/have to try to change it."