The Aftab Committee is a Washington, D.C.-based 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports Iranian-American artists and their works. By raising awareness, advocating education, and facilitating various events and exhibits, we aim to increase public consciousness and appreciation of Iranian-American artists and art.
When Shahrooz Shekaraubi founded the Aftab Committee in May of 2014, he saw endless possibilities for supprting Iranian-American artists and promoting their works. He wanted to create an organization that could serve, support, and inspire Iranian-American artists by bridging the gap between these artists and the general public. Iranian- American artists are a driving force in building-bridges and creating communities across divides. By disseminating the works of contemporary Iranian-American artists to diverse audiences, Aftab believes that they can help artists to grow, thrive and connect. Since Aftab's founding, the organization has been successful in its goal of enhancing public awareness of Iranian-American artists and art through exhibitions, film screenings, and other art events in Washington, D.C. and New York City.
The Aftab Committee’s vision is to create a platform that will support and celebrate all artists through a polycultural lens. What fuels our success and challenges us? Passion. It’s our engine for growth. It’s what our staff, volunteers, donors, and the universe expects of us. It’s what we expect of ourselves. It enables new heights in serving, promoting and inspiring artists.
Shahrooz Shekaraubi is the founder of the Aftab Committee and owner of White Lily Arts. Born in Tehran, Iran, Shahrooz was raised in the metropolitan Washington DC area. His academic and leadership experiences in the United States, Europe and Iran have led him toward pursuing his doctoral degree in Iranian studies. He has authored several articles in English and Persian on the Iranian-American community and is a poet. He holds a B.A. in Persian Studies from the University of Maryland and a M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from Lund University, Sweden.
Rose Zakery is the current outreach coordinator at Aftab. Prior to moving to Washington DC, Rose studied Criminology at Douglas College. Passionate about Human Rights, shes worked frequently as a volunteer for Amnesty International Canada. Rose has also spent time in Tehran teaching English to children at various international schools in the city. In her free time, she loves spending time with her family and playing sports. Grateful to be working with so many talented artists, Rose makes sure all artists feel welcome and supported in a way that has become customary at Aftab.
Howard Liebers brings to the Aftab Committee experience in board development, non-profit administration, policy and advocacy development, program development, grant writing expertise, and more. Throughout his career, Howard has worked on health care reform policy issues, enhancing access to primary care services, and health information technology initiatives. Based in Washington, D.C., Howard currently works for the D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB) as an advisor to the Insurance Commissioner on Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) implementation and health care policy. Prior to this, Howard worked for the DC Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF) as Special Projects Officer in the Office of the State Medicaid Director. Howard also served as Founder and CEO of a small D.C.-based non-profit from 2009-2014. He earned his Master of Public Health degree in 2007 from New York Medical College and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Medical Anthropology from Ithaca College in 2003.
Morad Eghbal’s professional body of work represents an unusual combination of both professional, business, and academic endeavours over nearly four decades. Eghbal has consulted for governments, commercial businesses, non-governmental organisations, and private individuals on natural resources and water development, transfer pricing and foreign currency exchange and payments and private, public partnerships. Eghbal has had more than two decades of experience in teaching at university, both in the United States and abroad, having taught international law (international business transactions, international finance law, comparative law, and comparative constitutional law), legal, ethical and historical studies, and international management. Eghbal clerked for the late Honourable William B. Bryant, United States District Court for the District of Columbia, and served as foreign associate at a law firm in Switzerland and as an associate at a firm in California.
Darya Razavi joined the Aftab Committee in the summer of 2014. Having been an active member, both personally and professionally, in Iranian-American organizations across the Northeastern United States, Darya considers herself a passionate and vocal advocate for the community, particularly on issues related to immigration, education, and racism and discrimination. Darya brings to the Committee experience in community organizing as well as government advocacy and policy research. Based in Washington D.C., Darya currently works at the American Council on Education, a trade association and policy center for institutions of higher education. Darya Razavi received her B.A. in Political Science and Middle East Studies from McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
Reza H. Akbari is a Senior Program Officer at the Institute for War and Peace Reporting. Reza conducts research on Iranian domestic politics, U.S. foreign policy toward Iran, Shia politics, political transition, and democracy. He has previously served as a Research Associate for the Iran Program at the Middle East Institute and a Research Assistant at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Reza has written for a number of international publications such as Foreign Policy, CNN’s Global Public Square, PBS – Tehran Bureau, Jadaliyya, Gulf News, and Al Monitor. Reza holds an M.A. in Middle East Studies from The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs and a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies from the State University of New York at Fredonia.
Aphrodite Désirée Navab is an Iranian-born, New York-based artist whose work mines her Iranian, Greek, and American cultural heritage asking questions of its competing histories and politics. Her art is the aching inquiry of an uprooted consciousness seeking new roots. It also serves as a site of critical dialogue and debate. Ultimately, "Navab's art haunts our imagination with its beauty and complexity, inviting us to engage in a third space of transnational and cross-cultural initiations, leaving domination and demonization outside the picture." (Reza Aslan, author of NY Times #1 Best Seller, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.)
In 2004 Navab completed an Ed.D doctorate in Art Education at Columbia University. She received her BA magna cum laude in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard College in 1993. Her doctoral dissertation, “Unsaying Life Stories: A Comparative Analysis of the Autobiographical Art of Four Iranians,” is the first study specifically focused on the work of artists of the Iranian diaspora. A chapter from it is published in the Journal of Aesthetic Education (University of Illinois Press) Volume 41/2 (2007). The dissertation is published in its entirety as De-Orientalizing Iran: The Art of Sevruguin, Neshat, Navab, and Ghazel, Lampert Academic Publishing (2011).
Navab’s art has been featured in over one hundred exhibitions and is included in a number of permanent collections at venues including the Lowe Art Museum, the Harn Museum of Fine Arts, Casoria Contemporary Art Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts at Arkansas State University.
In 2009, her art was featured in the museum exhibition and catalogue Through the Lens: Photography from the Permanent Collection at the Lowe Art Museum (University of Miami). The exhibition featured only 100 significant photographs from more than 1,000 photographic holdings from Julia Margaret Cameron and Walker Evans to Cindy Sherman and Gregory Crewdson.
Navab’s writing is published in six anthologies, including Photographic Theory: An Historical Anthology (2014), POWWOW: Charting the Fault Lines in the American Experience, Short Fiction from Then to Now (2009), and Let Me Tell You Where I've Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora (2006), edited by Persis Karim.
Navab was assistant professor of art at the University of Florida, where she completed four years of teaching art studio and art education in the College of Fine Arts (2000-5). She was area coordinator of the BFA and MFA creative photography programs (2003-4). She also taught graduate students in the MAT (Master of Arts in Teaching) program at the School of Visual Arts (2008-9).
Maryam Rassapour is a graphic designer, visual artist, and art teacher. Her artwork is mostly based on mixed media. Maryam loves to use different mediums, applying her own unique techniques to boldly express the ordinary life she observes around her, which is strongly inspired by Iranian culture, both past and present.
Maryam was born in Tehran, Iran and she started her artistic journey when she was 13 years old, painting her first oil on canvas piece. From there she continued onward until she received her BFA/MFA in Graphic Design from Azad University in Tehran, Iran.
In 1996, while an undergraduate, Maryam co-founded a boutique graphic design company called Kasheh (http://kasheh.com), with one of her colleagues in Iran. During this period she had several group exhibitions, illustrated some books, and designed several other book covers. Maryam also taught art and helped students prepare their portfolios for university. Kasheh continues to this day and Maryam remotely contributes while her colleague runs the business back in Iran.
Since moving to the U.S. in 2003, Maryam has continued to work as a graphic designer, visual artist, and art teacher. Here she has participated in several group exhibitions in D.C, Miami, Orlando, and LA. Currently, one of her pieces is on exhibit at The Art and Craft Museum in LA, as part of the Focus Iran 2 Exhibition sponsored by the Farhang Foundation.
The Aftab Committee
(818) 835 2167
Latela Gallery 716 Monroe St NE #27, Washington, DC 20017
If you are an artist and would like to submit your portfolio, please contact: email@example.com
For press inquires, please contact Rose Zakery at:
Interested in interning with us? The Aftab Committee is now accepting internship applications on a rolling basis. This paid position offers undergraduate and graduate students the chance to participate in the operations of the non-profit. To apply, please send a résumé to firstname.lastname@example.org.