Iranian-born artist Afsaneh Djabbari-Aslani attended USC’s Roski School of Fine Arts at the onset of the Iranian revolution. The upheaval in her native country culminating with the US embassy hostage crisis dramatically transformed her world and had significant influence on her artistic work.
After earning her BFA, she moved to New York City in 1983 and attempted to survive as an artist. However, after struggling on limited income, she started working at the United Nations Development Program in the Public Affairs Division. Her experience at UNDP allowed her to learn more about the plight of third world countries. While working full time, she earned her Master's Degree from NYU’s Robert Wagner School of Public Service. Her painting "Working Towards a Brighter World" was published as a holiday card and sent out worldwide in 1989. In 1991 she started working for Barnard College in the Financial Aid and Higher Education Opportunity Program, where she got insight into the hard work that takes place to make affordable education available to all.
With the birth of her second child, she moved to the suburbs and became an active volunteer in the community, serving as an art history teacher in the public school system. As a volunteer art history teacher she reconnected with her passion for the arts and started painting full time again in 2009 while raising her three children.