Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

 Self-exploration often mandates transparency. Tatyana Fazlalizadeh is an artist from Oklahoma City who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Fazlalizadeh began campaigning her body of work titled “Stop Telling Women to Smile(STWTS)” in 2017.  

The first sketch is a self-portrait of Fazlalizadeh. It shows her with somewhat of a bun atop her head with her head slightly turned to the side, magnifying her jaw accompanied by her captivating eyes. The portrait resignates with women across the country. When Tatyana started the campaign, she did not think it would garner its support. Her platform displays and supports social issues. Each portrait illustrates an alluring woman without a smile. Beneath each one reads a statement attesting to street harassment that each woman has experienced. Each and every portrait has a white background. They look as though they were drawn with a pencil. The images can be found around the world. 

Photo from Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center

Fazlalizadeh’s work grants women the permission to not have to constantly smile. It gives way to the idea of complete personal agency, breaking the necessity to appeal to outside people. Wheat pasting is a gel-like substance made with wheat flour and water. Wheat pasting is generally used as an adhesive for street artwork. Fazlalizadeh pastes her work with wheat paste in areas where street harassment is prominent. She sometimes posts her work in areas where the women live who are featured in her collection.  

Fazlalizadeh’s STWTS collection aims to bring awareness to street harassment and, more importantly, empower women. Initially, Fazlalizadeh engaged with herself in her work, then she invited other women to be a part of her initiative. With 64,000 followers, Fazlalizadeh garners plenty of likes, primarily women. She attracts this type of support because she gives voice to many women’s issues every day. 

Artra Nelson

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