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Sohrab Aarabi ‘Freedom Warrior’ Bronze Portrait Bust,19 Year Old Iranian Pro-Democracy Student

A poem, a gift to Paula Slater
Written by Sohrab Aarabi's Uncle
I will try hard to convey your kindness into a poem.

' I listened to your message and said:
Without a doubt, LOVE
Was the most beautiful gift from God
That God gave to the sky
Unable to bear love,
The sky just took the color of it and turned blue

Then God
Offered it to the mountain
Nor could the mountain bear it
So it just borrowed its steadfastness and became glorious

The sea, also did not understand love
It only took its excitement and became stormy
And then
God offered love to human beings
The one who accepted it,
Like you,
Acquired a heart as vast as the sea
A heavenly look
And everlasting joy

Hence my request to you:
To sculpt your own heart
Though I find it hard to believe
That any artist could ever capture that amount of love
One piece of art.'
~ Mohammad Gharaee
Sohrab Aarabi's Uncle
Location: Slater's Private Collection
Hidden Valley Lake, California
Size: Life Size
Year Completed: 2009

Interview with Mahsa Jina Amini Bronze Bust Sculptor, Paula Slater

Slater sculpted a Bronze Portrait Bust of Sohrab Aarabi, Freedom Warrior. Please also see Slater’s Bronze Portrait Bust of Neda Agha-Soltan to read more about the fight for freedom in Iran. Below is an article about the bronze portrait bust of this courageous Iranian Freedom Fighter.

Payvand: Sohrab Aarabi ‘Freedom Warrior of Iran’ will be Memorialized in Bronze

San Francisco City Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi will unveil renown sculptor, Paula Slater’s bronze portrait sculptures of Sohrab ‘Freedom Warrior’ and Neda ‘Angel of Freedom’ on December 12th in San Francisco as part of “Arts United 4 Iran”.

Master sculptor, Paula Slater, who sculpted the much beloved bronze portrait sculptures of Neda ‘Angel of Iran’ and Neda ‘Angel of Freedom’ received many requests for her to also please sculpt a portrait bust of Sohrab Aarabi.  Sohrab was a 19 year old Iranian pro-democracy student who disappeared after his participation in a June 2009 protest against the fraudulent election.  Aarabi’s parents filed a missing person’s report and each day his mother took his photograph to prisons and courts in search of information.

It wasn’t until 26 days after he went missing that the government finally notified his parents of his death.  He had been shot in the heart by pro-regime militia during the demonstration and had died almost a month earlier.  Sohrab’s family was ordered not to have a memorial service for him, but crowds chanted in defiance of the police as they gathered for his funeral.  The name Sohrab means “bright, shining” and is the name of a hero in Perisan history.  Like Neda Agha-Soltan, Sohrab has become a martyr and a powerful symbol of the fight for Freedom in Iran.

Asked why she chose to sculpt this third portrait, Ms. Slater explains, “I wanted to sculpt a portrait bust of Sohrab to represent all the brave male freedom fighters who continue to risk their lives daily in their protests for human rights and Democracy in Iran.  Seventy percent of the Iranian population want a free and independent secular Iran. Today’s real green movement protests are composed of Iranian youths, university students, women, human rights and political activists who do not want an Islamic dictatorship.

As an Iranian woman named Leyla writes, “The Iranian people have had enough of the brutal killing, torturing and imprisonment by this backward theocracy which has devastated the lives of tens of millions of Iranians.  It is so painful to think of the greatness we could have achieved during these last 30 years–Iranians could have lived in prosperity, peace and harmony in their own country–instead 70 million Iranians live in a big third world prison!  For most Iranians this is not about Mousavi vs Ahmadinejad.  This is about Freedom and Democracy vs the “Islamic” republic!   From its damned birth 30 years ago, this Regime has enriched Arab terrorist organizations and has tried to impose Arab-ism on Iran and Iranians.  It wants to replace our rich Persian heritage with a radical Arab culture.  But the people have had enough and that’s why they’re still coming out on the streets to protest–Iranians will not rest until the “Islamic” republic has been totally crushed!”

Ayatollah Khamenei and Ahmadinejad have been kept in power by their Revolutionary Guard, the ruthless Basij militia, and pro-regime vigilante Police who are given carte blanche to kill and beat the Iranian people into submission.  Dozens of protesters have died, and Amnesty International and other human rights organizations have reported 4,000 arrests and Stalinesque mass trials.  As Hillary Clinton recently stated about the rape, torture, executions, imprisonments and disappearances in Iran, “this just shows that the Iranian Government is afraid of its own people.”

“This is a pivotal moment in history for the Iranian people and thus also for the world,” says Paula. “Artists are supposed to be the visionaries who tell the stories of humankind. The Iranian people have shown me so much gratitude that I must keep telling their story through my art.  Once the clay sculpture of Sohrab is cast in bronze I will find a place to donate it where it will inspire people with the story of his heroic fight for freedom.”

Life Size Clay Portrait Bust of Sohrab ‘Freedom Warrior’ by Paula Slater

Sohrab Aarabi Clay Portrait Bust by Paula Slater

Mona Ameli, with Bay Area Iranian American Democrats, recently wrote to Paula, “Thank you for all your hard work…  I was thinking the other day:  if Neda is the Angel of Freedom, you my dear, are the Angel of Solidarity!

So what is next for this Angel of Solidarity?  ”There is a saying, ‘Bread for the table, flowers for the soul’,” replies Paula.  ”I know I am very blessed to be a professional sculptor and sculpting public commissions puts bread on my table, however sculpting and donating these portraits of Neda and Sohrab have been flowers for my soul.  I will continue to plant my soul garden and do what I can to help keep their memory alive.  I also hope to continue being a thorn in the side of the Islamic Regime until their reign of oppression and terror ends.  I believe their karmic day of reckoning is fast approaching. However, bronze lasts for centuries–so these bronze sculptures will last long after the Islamic Regime has turned to dust.  In the meantime, we must all keep the dream of a free Iran alive in our hearts.”

Please click on http://www.NorCal4Iran.com for upcoming details regarding when and where the unveiling of the Sohrab and Neda bronze portraits will take place. On December 12th, United4iran is hosting global events around the world, “Arts United4iran”, in which artists are in some fashion displaying their works to celebrate the civil rights movement in Iran.  December 12th comes six months after the disputed elections in Iran, and coincides with the 61st anniversary of the International Declaration of Human Rights. For more information about 12/12 events around the world, go to http://www.United4Iran.org.