Between Official Propaganda and Street Art

The Representation of the Female Figure on the Iranian Walls

  • Rassa Ghaffari Department of Sociology and Social Research, University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy


In the new Islamic space set up in Iran after the 1979 revolution, urban space has been used to build and rebuild collective identities and the state, in its various forms, is a huge producer of material and immaterial cultural contents (Honarbin-Holliday, 2013). This process involves multiple actors and social forces that intervene and interact from above and below, individually, and collectively.

Wall paintings in Iran can be divided into two groups: murals and graffiti. The main difference lies in the subject who holds the political legitimacy, that is the right to create or prohibit them (Del Lago and Giordano, 2016). Thus, while the former serves to highlight and support the government’s ideology, the latter operates under an apparatus of censorship. Billboards sanctioned by the government typically have advertising or social and political functions and express the regime’s view about the ideal society and social roles. On the other hand, graffiti of dissent is rare but exists as a form of underground street politics since any art expression contrary to the regime’s ideology is forbidden.

How to Cite
Ghaffari, R. (2021). Between Official Propaganda and Street Art. CAP - Public Art Journal, 3(2), 42 - 59.