EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A local artist is shining a light on the difficult lives of women in Iran.

Iranian artist and Illinois State University graduate Shahrbarnoo Hamzeh has created a painting exhibit called Woman, Life, Freedom. It’s located at Illinois Central College’s Performing Arts Center gallery in East Peoria.

The exhibit comes as protests have continued in Iran since September. They began after a woman died in police custody for not wearing her head covering properly.

“Women don’t have any rights at all, they are not citizens, they are hostages in their own home, in their own city, in the place they work, in the country,” Hamzeh said.

During the unrest, hundreds of protesters have been killed and thousands more arrested.

Hamzeh said she wants her artwork to bring attention to the four decades of tough conditions under Iran’s Islamic regime.

“The brutality is so bad. The thing I want to focus on is asking people to not forget about it, it’s not news that happened two months ago and that’s done. It’s not done, they are killing us. Unless we change this regime which is the hope, it’s going to be that way,” Hamzeh said.

Hamzeh said people in Central Illinois can help by speaking out on social media, and by contacting their legislators and encouraging them to make effective changes.

The Woman, Life, Freedom exhibit will continue through December 12th.