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Courtesy of 

Nazanin Hafez

Ann Lesley BarTur Award

Nazanin Hafez

Academy of Fine Arts Mainz (kunsthochschule mainz)

Highly Commended

Nazanin Hafez (born in 1991 in Shiraz, Iran), is a visual artist based in Iran and Germany. She got her B.A. in Media Art and Design from Saar College of Fine Arts in Saarbrücken, Germany. She is currently pursuing her Postgraduate Studies at Academy of Fine Arts in Mainz.

Most of her artworks express social and political critiques especially towards the Islamic Republic regime, which she incorporates into various art forms such as photography, collage and installation.


Shiraz, Iran


Acid attack is a crime that occurs especially in developing countries where gender gap, discrimination and violence against women are more prevalent.

In the meantime, many have fallen victim; they live in silence and isolation with fear, and they live with the pain and suffering caused by acid burns. In addition to deep and persistent physical damage, such as loss of face and vision, the acid attack causes permanent psychological damage such as depression, anxiety, disorder, and suicide. In Iran, a large proportion of victims are women, who in most cases, are victims of domestic violence.

The purpose of the acid attack is to isolate and eliminate the presence of women in society and to leave a lifetime of suffering from burns. Unfortunately, the number of acid attacks is increasing due to the lack of appropriate punishment for the crime in Iran and easy access to acid (through online stores to pharmacies).

Leila was an accountant at a clinic who was acid-attacked by the clinic housekeeper before she arrived at work. Unlike many acid attacks, Leila’s story has no romance. She only knows that she had found a deficit in the work account before the accident, which led to a dispute between the head of the clinic and his partner. These disputes eventually led to Leila resigning and the acid attack just four days before her last working day. But Leila still does not know exactly why the clinic housekeeper did this to her?

Ever since this happened, laughter has hardly come to Leila’s lips. It has become difficult for her to go out because she cannot stand the humiliating looks of others and the reproachful questions of others: “What did you do to make this happen to you?” Her whole life is tied to the nightmares of that accident. She stays at home and leaves the house only for treatment; all her communication with her friends is through virtual networks. However, she does not want this to happen to anyone anymore: “I want to try not to let any woman stay at home in the future for the fear of acid attack.” Now Leila knows the difference between the words of “humanity” and “woman” better: “I will become stronger Leila.”

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