About Me

Maryam Mazrooei is an Iranian photographer, painter, and sculptor. She was a war photographer and journalist for over 15 years, working for many Iranian news outlets as well as international media. Within the complicated atmosphere of the media in Iran, facing systematic censorship and prosecution of journalists, she was no exception to feeling the burn. The hardship and complexity of being a journalist in Iran, pushed her to expand her professional career beyond Iran’s borders, to the Middle East. She has frequently traveled to  Afghanistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and the Syrian borders during the war.

After two years of photographing in Afghanistan, she moved to Mousel right before the joint liberation operation in 2016, close to the front line, to document the situation of Iraqi women and children trapped in the conflict. Her work on the rape victims of Shengal was lost when she miraculously fled a conflict zone to safety. 

Her set of works on capturing the restless, uprooted population of Mousel’s rally alongside the road with despair and turmoil while waiting for the liberation of their hometown, caught attention during the exhibitions in Iran and Turkey in 2017. She was banned from going outside of the country by the intelligence service for more than three years.

She was an honored guest artist at the Ankara Art Festival twice, presenting her work as well as participating in an international event on women and sustainable peace. She spoke at the general conference of the International Association of Artists in Istanbul in 2023 and had an exhibition at the USPD gallery.

Completing a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s, she was Ph.D. candidate in Mass Communication and won the first-place award for her essay on censorship in Iran. Her research book, “Red Lines in Iran”, and her two novels, “The Common Lover”  and “The Public Secret,” are not permitted to be published in Iran. Besides the war photography, Maryam took a special interest in refugee women’s issues over time, and as a volunteer activist, she attempted to help and educate young female Afghan refugees and maltreated girls in Iran. Her colleagues and she worked for years to ensure that Afghan children could attend school. 

Throughout her career, she has always pursued and sought refuge in art, having numerous solo photo and painting exhibitions outside of Iran as her set of paintings were considered to violate Islamic rules and were not allowed to be shown in Iran. She has been illustrating children’s books as well. In 2022, she was imprisoned for participating in the “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement in Iran and photographing the demonstration. After being released from prison, she moved to Istanbul and took an art residency there. She was a lecturer at the ninth International General Art Assembly held in Turkey as well. Since immigration, her main concentration has been painting, sculpting, and photography, and she is currently working on a long-term mixed-media project about women.