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San Francisco Artist Pays Tribute To 'Neda'

The bust of Neda
The bust of Neda
California-based artist Paula Slater unveiled a sculpture of Neda Agha Soltan in San Francisco on July 25 on the occasion of the International Day Of Solidarity With The People Of Iran. She talked to RFE/RL's Radio Farda correspondent Nader Sadighi.

RFE/RL: How did you come up with the idea of making a sculpture in Neda's honor?

Paula Slater:
Well, you know, I saw the videotape of the shooting of Neda and it just touched me so deeply. It was like a shot to the heart.

And what I do when I'm feeling a lot of pain is sculpt, and I thought I just need to sculpt her. I need to turn this pain that I'm feeling into art and I just wanted to sculpt her portrait and to show my solidarity with the people in Iran.

RFE/RL: It seems that her unfortunate death has affected you deeply, hasn't it?

Yes it did. I think that it was such a graphic and violent videotape.

And I was already aware of what was going on in Iran. I was once employed a couple of decades ago by an Iranian friend who had come from Iran with his family. And they just took me in and they're just the most wonderful people. So I've always been involved with what's going on in Iran.

RFE/RL: Paula, you are an artist, and your thoughts are far from political, but what do you expect to happen in Iran?

Very good question -- I think these things take time. I think that good people sometimes get represented by bad governments. And I think that the Iranian people are really wanting that to change.

So I'm hopeful for the future and am optimistic about what will happen in Iran. I think that these things take time to build. But once it builds, the momentum carries it. And I think that there is such a strong direction that they want to take. I think that they will end up getting what they want."