Tannaz Farsi’s work highlights and represents objects and images that contextually start from a collective experience found within the milieu of our cultural archive. Central to the work is the notion of fragmentation, structural blindness, and individual agency. Tannaz works with materials and forms that are easily recognizable, using our familiarity to tease out a common language that is at once analytical and physical and allows for a complexity of meaning to develop through arrangement, organization and form. Her work is project-based and her studio practice crosses a range of mediums such as sculpture, photography, drawing, printmaking, and digital media. She is interested in the friction that is instigated within the mixing of these conventions, whether it is an aesthetic structure that informs a political commentary or an attempt to bring an irrational idea or an idea that does not have definitive form into a physical structure. Her work has been exhibited at venues including the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Disjecta Art Center (Portland), Pitzer College Art Galleries, Tacoma Art Museum, the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art, the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts and The Sculpture Center (Cleveland). Her work has been supported through grants and awards from the Oregon Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, the University of Oregon and the Ford Family Foundation, where she was named a Hallie Ford Fellow (2014). Born in Iran, Farsi lives and works in Eugene, where she is on the faculty at the University of Oregon.
Toofun Golchin is a working composer and musician based out of Los Angeles. He is pursuing his interest in film scoring while studying at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Toofun graduated with his BFA at CalArts and is the lead composer and guitarist for the Middle-Eastern rock band Zaub. His musical interests include classical guitar, blues, and world fusion.
Roya Falahi is an artist who was born in Washington D.C., but she currently lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. Roya received her BA in Studio Art from UC Irvine and her MFA in Photography from UCLA in 2006. Her artwork has been included in several exhibitions. Roya has had solo shows at the Vincent Price Art Museum and the W. Keith and Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery at Cal Poly University in Pomona, CA.
Nina Ghanbarzadeh was born and raised in Tehran, Iran. She immigrated to the United States in 2001 and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a focus in painting, drawing and graphic design in 2013. She completed a two year Artist in Residency Program with RedLine Milwaukee in 2015.
Ghanbarzadeh has participated in a number of group shows in Wisconsin. She is the recipient of the Mary L. Nohl Suitcase Export Fund, Student Silver ADDY, and the Fredric R. Layton Foundations Scholarship. She is also a teaching artist and has been involved in many workshops, lectures, and presentations.
Recent focus in her work has been the intersection of text and image and the potential of using text to create movement and texture.
Asad Faulwell is an artist based in the Los Angeles area. He graduated from UCSB in 2005 before receiving his MFA from Claremont Graduate University in 2008. While at Claremont he was awarded a Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant. Asad's work is featured in many private and public collections, including the Oppenheimer Collection at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, the Rubell Collection in Miami, the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), and the Franks-Suss Collection in London. His work has been written about in ArtForum, the Huffington Post, Harper's Bazaar Art, the N.Y. Times, the L.A. Times, and L.A. Weekly. Asad is currently represented by the Kravets/Wehby Gallery in New York, the Bill Brady Gallery in Miami, and the Lawrie/Shabibi Gallery in Dubai.
Amir H. Fallah is an artist living and working in Los Angeles, CA. Amir received his B.F.A. from The Maryland Institute College of Art and his M.F.A from UCLA in 2005. He has exhibited both nationally and internationally. Exhibits include shows at the Nerman Museum, Weatherspoon Art Museum, the Sharjah Biennial 2009, LA Louver, the Third Line, Gallery Wendi Norris, Charlie James Gallery, Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, 18th Street Art Center, Cherry And Martin, Frederieke Taylor Gallery, and Mary Goldman Gallery, among others.
Amir has been a visiting lecturer at a range of respected institutions, including Columbia College, USC, UCLA, Cleveland Institute of Art, California State University, University Of New Mexico, Otis College Of Art, and Maryland Institute College of Art.
If you want to talk style or you want career and lifestyle tips, think Keemia Ferasat. She is the founder of Style Salute, a mission-driven media and commerce brand described best as "The Huffington Post for the modern woman" (www.stylesalute.com). Style Salute is a new media and commerce startup that inspires confidence and creativity in women through inspirational and informative content across multiple platforms. The mission is to provide an online destination that will empower women to live more stylish, smarter, and independent lives. Ferasat began her career as the founder of KEEMIA, a line of high-end cocktail dresses, which sold to over 50 stores nationwide and online. The brand was featured in leading publications such as ELLE, Marie Claire, Brides, Daily Candy, InTouch, Lucky, and more.
Ferasat has her finger firmly on the pulse of today's changing media landscape— and she has a hunch that speaking personal style and personal beauty is what women are craving today. Keemia has always had an interest in the idea of helping women take ownership of their personal style, careers, and beauty routines and Style Salute, which launched in July 2016, is the culmination of that idea. For women of this generation, technology is enabling self-expression, but most importantly self-acceptance, in a tremendous, unprecedented way. Accordingly, Style Salute is the first part of the mission to really help women get the information that will help them live their lives more confidently.
Style Salute speaks to readers in an inclusive voice, with content that is contextually relevant, authentic and shoppable. All of the content on Style Salute is very inspiring. There is much utility in the products and tutorials presented, and each piece of content drives an immediate action, inspiring women to try, buy, or share. Looking forward, Keemia would like to see Style Salute re-invent the way women shop and consume content.
Keemia is an established figure in the Iranian-American community and she is also the Los Angeles chair of Persian Tech Entrepreneurs (www.wearepte.com).
Anna Fahr is a multi-disciplinary artist, filmmaker, educator, and the founder of Sepasi Films (est. 2003), a production company dedicated to creating films with social impact that focus on the contemporary Middle East and its diaspora.
Anna's work has screened at dozens of international film festivals, she has been the recipient of numerous grants, and she has participated in conferences, panels, and pitching forums including the Talent Lab at the Toronto International Film Festival, the Tribeca All Access program at the Tribeca Film Festival and the Directors Across Borders program at the Yerevan International Film Festival.
Anna's latest narrative short, Transit Game, examines the refugee crisis in Lebanon against the backdrop of the Syrian war. This film has screened at over forty international festivals since premiering in the fall of 2014, winning prizes in Berlin, San Francisco, and Florence in addition to winning the Golden Sheaf Award for Best Drama at the Yorkton Film Festival in Canada.
Anna's first independent feature-length documentary, Khaneh Ma: These Places We Call Home (2006), examines questions of cultural identity and dual-nationality from the vantage point of three generations of Iranians living in Iran, Canada, and Germany. The film screened in international festivals worldwide and was theatrically released in Montreal.
Anna earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Production from Concordia University in Montreal, winning the Mel Hoppenheim Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film Production in 2003. She earned her Master’s in Film and Middle Eastern Studies from New York University in 2010.
Saba Farhoudnia is a contemporary visual artist based in New York City. She was born and raised in Tehran, Iran, and she migrated to the United States in 2013. She graduated from the University of Science and Culture (USC) in Tehran with a BFA in Painting and an MA in Art Research. Apart from her professional practices, she is also a 2019 MFA in Painting candidate at the prestigious LeRoy E. Huffbeger School of Painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).
She started her artistic activities (calligraphy, animation, drawing, painting, and playing Persian traditional instruments) at an early age. As a maturing adolescent, she discovered her distinct style and fondness for painting by exploring deeply personal subject matters.
Because of a chronic back problem, her images changed; understanding her suffering led her to wish for all humans and animals to have a greater understanding of their own condition. From that point on, she began calling herself the painter of pains, wishes, and regrets.
As an Iranian artist who started knowing art through literature and calligraphy at a very young age, she always likes to tell stories through representational objects. The elements that she uses are integral in arousing responses from the viewer.
Rodin Hamidi was born in 1983 in Tehran, Iran. He is an independent cinematographer, director, and fine art photographer based in New York City. Rodin holds a B.A. in Fine Arts Photography from Azad University of Arts in Tehran and a Bachelor of Honors in Film Production from Middlesex University. After moving to the States in 2011, he graduated with a degree in Advanced Cinematography from the New York Film Academy.
Born and raised in Tehran, Iran, and living and working in San Francisco, Taraneh Hemami engages in diverse strategies including installation, object and media productions, and collective and participatory projects to explore themes of displacement, preservation, and representation. Examining the careful crafting of images as propagated for power and political gain, Taraneh’s recent handcrafted replications of historical archives serve as commemoratives to events, places, and people while commenting on tools of manipulation and persuasion used across nations and histories. Her collective and curatorial projects create connections through experimental projects between artists, writers, and scholars while promoting and provoking dialogue as part of their process and presentation. These works explore various topics, from martyrdom to reflections of the everyday.
Ari Honarvar is the founder of Rumi With A View, dedicated to Rumi translation, performance, and visual poetry art. She blends Persian calligraphy and paintings to present Rumi’s poetry in new and evocative ways.
In her performances she collaborates with musicians and dancers of different cultures and presents a dynamic program including poems in Farsi and English, Rumi stories, and Ari’s own encounters with the soul-saving power of poetry. She has recently joined Musical Ambassadors of Peace to help build poetry and musical bridges across war torn borders.
Ari is a writer and speaker and her work has been featured at various universities, events, and on NPR, TV , Elephant Journal, Alternet, The Establishment, and the Huffington Post. Her oracle card set and book, Rumi's Gift is forthcoming in 2017 by Schiffer Publishing.
Born in Iran and a long time resident of the Washington DC Metro area, Farideh (ne Taghizadeh) Hooshiar is a Tehran University sociology graduate, a mom, a grandmother, a cross word puzzle aficionado, a former teacher, and a current collage artist, quilt maker, and homespun philosopher.
Sara Goudarzi is a Brooklyn writer and editor. Born in Tehran, she was raised in Iran, Kenya and the U.S. Her writing has appeared in National Geographic News, The Christian Science Monitor, Scientific American, Taos Journal of Poetry and Art, The Adirondack Review, The Globe and Mail and Drunken Boat and featured in an upcoming poetry anthology. Sara is the author of Amazing Animals and four other titles from Scholastic Inc. She recently completed her first novel and is at work on a second.
Sara holds an M.A. from New York University, Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, and an M.S. from Rutgers University. She has taught writing at NYU and mediabistro.
An avid performer of poetry, Sara has collaborated and performed with other artists on various musical projects.
Sam Hale is a soulful Persian/American singer-songwriter residing in Los Angeles, California. He was born in Iran and moved to America at the age of seven. He's since dedicated his life to creating honest and relatable music.
Azita Houshiar is a lapsed attorney, writer, illustrator, storyteller and TEDxTehran 2016 speaker. Azita is the CEO and founder of Zeerak Media, a digital marketing agency. She also has a podcast and a blog about the food and culture of Iran.
In 2013, Azadeh Hussaini completed her MFA at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She completed her Undergraduate studies in 1999 receiving her BFA from the Painting Azad University in Iran. Her work has been displayed in exhibitions throughout the United States and Iran.
Her pursuit of Art Education and the experiences that shaped her journey as an immigrant visual artist has nurtured her artistic expression. Her work embodies the utilization of various mediums including painting, mixed-media and assemblages that incorporate the exploration of her own emotional responses to her experiences while congruently ascertaining the basic primordial desires within the human condition aspiring to discover commonalities among us while providing forums for open discussion and social assertiveness.
Daria Izad is an Iranian-American artist who was born in Long Island, New York. She creates abstract, open ended ceramic vessels that sidestep functionality, using minimal engobe and glaze to attract attention to the subtle textures of hand worked clay. These sculptural objects are typically displayed alongside intimate relics from her life and heritage. Her work references familial nostalgia, identity, and childhood memories through the daily practice of object making, gathering, and curating. Daria received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013 and is a current Master of Fine Arts candidate at University of California, Santa Barbara.
Born and raised in Iran, Aida lives and paints full-time in New York City. She has a Ph.D. in Environmental Psychology and a Master’s in Urban Planning, and was Teaching Assistant in mixed media at Art Students League of New York (2012-14). Aida's recent solo exhibitions include Transcendence (NYC, 2015) and Revelation (Los Angeles, 2013), and her recent group shows include States of Being in Abstract (NYC, 2016), Art Brief II: Iranian Contemporary North America (Santa Monica, 2016), and In the Abstract (Setauket, 2016). Aida has won many awards and accolades, including Artist in Residency at Stony Brook University in New York (2017), the Fantasy Fountain Fund Painting Fellowship in Paris, France (2014), and the Jeffery Berman Director’s Award in Mixed Media.
ICY (born 1985) and SOT (born 1991) are stencil artists from Tabriz, Iran, currently residing in Brooklyn, New York. Since 2006, the two brothers have contributed to Iranian and international urban art culture through their striking stencil work that depicting human rights, ecological justice, social and political issues. Their work appears on walls and galleries throughout the Iran, USA, Germany, China, Norway, and globally.They transcend their histories of artistic and political censorship by using public art to envision a world freed from borders, war and gun violence.
Mitra Jouhari is a writer/comedian who lives in Brooklyn. She currently writes for a new show on Comedy Central. Prior to that she was working at Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. She performs with the group Three Busy Debras, the Holy Fuck Comedy Hour, and Michael Jordan Steakhouse. She co-hosts the monthly shows "It's A Guy Thing" at Union Hall and "You Are Heard" at the Annoyance, as well as appearing in the plays "Groundhog Date," "Slice of Life", and "Three Busy Debras" at the Annoyance Theater. TV/Film Credits Include: The Big Sick, Friends From College, and Full Frontal, as well as videos for the New Yorker, IFC, Comedy Central, Above Average, Refinery29's RIOT, and more. Her writing has appeared in McSweeney's, Reality Beach, Splitsider, Flaunt Magazine, Rookie, and Reductress. She has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Brooklyn Comedy Festival, the NY Comedy Festival, and many more. Follow her on twitter @tweetrajouhari.
Maryam Javaheri was born in Tehran and received her Fine Arts degree from Tehran University. After some advanced study in Europe, she continued her fine arts education at New York University and the Art Students League in New York in the early 1960s. Independently, she has worked under the tutorledge of prominent American painters Ad Reinhardt, Adolf Gottlieb, and Will Barnett. She has won several awards, and has had numerous single and group shows in the United States and Iran. She has also participated in a few international exhibitions. Her works include painting, collage, and sculpture (both freestanding and wall-hung). Maryam's style is non-objective, using strong, simple colors and forms to create each composition. Her work has been reviewed by renowned art historians and journalists.
Mahmood Karimi-Hakak is a poet, author, and artist who has created over 70 stage and screen plays, authored six plays, two books of poetry, numerous articles and essays, and five translations from/into Persian. He is the recipient of a six artistic and scholarly awards including Fulbright.
Mahmood is the founder and president of Festival Cinema Invisible (CinemaInvisible.Com), and has served on the board of several artistic and educational organizations.
Dr. Karimi Hakak has taught at universities in the U.S., Europe, and his native Iran. He presently serves as Professor of Creative Arts at Siena College in upstate New York.
"I was born in Teheran, Iran on Nov. 27, 1944. After finishing high school, in 1963 I came to the United States to pursue my higher education. In 1969, I received my first Master of Science Degree in Mathematics from San Jose State University, upon the completion of my thesis on the “Manifold Structure of Special and General Theory of Relativity”. I got a second Master of Science Degree in Physics when I returned to the San Jose state University ten years later. But it was my course work in chemistry, while I was a PHD candidate in Biophysics at the University of California at Berkeley that landed me a tenure track position at the College of San Mateo. I started my full-time position at CSM teaching chemistry. My current title is: Professor of Math, Physics, and Astronomy, and Coordinator of Astronomy program.
I have taught at CSM since the summer of 1979. And I believe I hold the record of teaching 108 consecutive semesters on one campus. During this time, I have taught courses in aeronautics, astronomy, chemistry, drafting, mathematics, physics, and nature of physical reality. In 1992 I became the third director of the planetarium at CSM in the history of the college; that title later officially changed to the Coordinator of the Astronomy Program, which I hold presently.
In the late 60’s I was hired as a mathematician by Varian Associates. And as a part of a contract with NASA, I was involved with the development of a mathematical interpolator for mapping the surface of the moon from the data sent by Apollo XI before its landing, In the mid and late 70’s, while I was a graduate student in the mathematical physics program at the University of Colorado, I worked as a statistician and quality control engineer for COORS Industries analyzing the quality of aluminum and ceramic containers, and means of their production.
Prior to my tenure track position at CSM, as an adjunct instructor, I had taught physics and mathematics at University of Colorado in Boulder, San Jose State University, and Diablo Valley College. In particular, I taught a course designed to teach mathematics to returning students with physical and/or mental disability due to injuries. It was my experience of the interactions with students in this course that was seminal to my professional career, life-long teaching.
In 1990 I became interested in art, which opened a new path for my life to take. More and more I became obsessed by the philosophy of art and the nature of human perception. (As an undergraduate my minor was philosophy.) Thus started my private research in these fields. Although I have given many lectures on the subject, I have kept my research private. However, one aspect of my research is known publicly. I have invented a new format of composition in painting, based on how artworks are perceived and how we react to works of art, which I have called “symivisio”, and have trademarked the name. This format does for painting what symphony does for music.
My artwork has been exhibited, as a solo artist, at East Bay MUD Millennium Celebration. The City Art of San Mateo has also exhibited my artworks at Peninsula Ballet Theatre for three months. And in 2014 San Mateo County Fair asked me to be their feature artist and devoted a 48’ by 8’ wall to the exhibition of my artwork. Last year my artwork was exhibited in the Hall of Justice (Caldwell Gallery) in Redwood City, California from 7/1/16 to 8/31/16. Articles about my art have appeared in Daily Star (International Harold Tribune), San Jose Mercury, San Mateo Times, The San Matean, and San Mateo Daily Journal. In the last few years I have been asked (I accepted) by San Mateo County Fair to be one the judges for the submissions in oil painting.
My professional life has been devoted to the growth and educational development of CSM students and, more generally, the community’s awareness of science and art. I enjoy watching students become well-rounded human beings. For me it is not enough to just teach them the subject matter in isolation. I try to connect science learning to other experiences of their life. To that end, as the coordinator of the astronomy program, I have worked with my team of astronomers to implement programs such as “Project Star Gaze”, where over the course of one academic year we bring about 2000 elementary and middle school students to our planetarium for science demos and astronomy shows, “Jazz Under the Stars”, for the public to observe the celestial objects through telescopes in our rooftop observatory, and “Sky Tonight”, where once a month the public is invited to enjoy free planetarium shows and be awed by the discoveries in science. Also, I have reached out to our local astronomical society, and together once a month we bring experts in astronomy to give lectures in our planetarium. These lectures are open to the public and are free of charge. Furthermore, I have coordinated the Family Science and Astronomy Festival, where once a year the public is invited to enjoy learning not only about astronomy but also about the whole spectrum of scientific fields. Finally, I have put together the “Art and Science Presentation” event, where the public is invited to lectures, telescopic viewing of the sky, and exhibition of my artworks at CSM Theatre, where I show how art and science connect in one man’s experience. (The 29th presentation of Art and Science was showcased on 4/08/16.) In all these, of paramount importance in my mind are the benefits that these programs bring to the education of the CSM students, the enrichment of the campus life, and the public’s awareness of art and science.
I believe that more than anything else learning is achieved by osmosis. Thus, during my 37 years as a member of CSM faculty, I have tried to create an enjoyable academic environment at CSM, and have pushed students to become autonomous learners. That is one reason that, in addition to the activities that I have outlined above, I have been advisor to several CSM clubs, including Chess Club, Persian Club, and Astronomy Club. Please visit http://mohsensart.com, and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2D_YCy739SM&t=134s for creation of my symvisio."
Priya Assal Gheysari is an inter-disciplinary artist who draws directly from her spiritual journey as a Muslim mystic and Yogi. With two decades of experience and teaching in the healing arts, she designs immersive spaces and public encounters that trigger personal awareness and human connection while encouraging the anchoring of bodies in the here and now. The spaces she’s created range from isolation boxes to self-confessional booths, bathing sanctuaries, and communal prayer rooms. She is also the founder and director of Inner Journey Practices, an initiative that offers mentoring and support for self-directed rituals, pilgrimages, and meditation retreats in virtual form.
Priya Assal holds a BFA in painting and Visual Studies from the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, and is currently an MFA merit scholar at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her writings and institutional critiques are primarily focused on issues of representation regarding Iranian, Muslim, and Middle Eastern female identity.
Iranian flutist, Mehrdad Gholami has served as principal flute with Tehran Symphony and has performed in different genres and with different chamber groups in Tehran. He is also a prize winner of several solo and chamber music competitions in Iran as well as Iran's National Councours of Arts at the age 18. Currently, he is finishing his Doctoral degree in Flute Performance at TCU in Fort Worth, Texas. From an early age, Mehrdad has played with numerous contemporary music ensembles and has worked with Iranian and American composers to premiere and record new sounds for flute with different ensembles. He was the first Iranian flutist to record a compilation of Iranian pieces for flute and various ensembles, published by the University of Tehran. Mehrdad will join Aspen Contemporary Ensemble to spend his second year of residency with Aspen Contemporary Ensemble as a recipient of Susan and Ford Schumann fellowship for contemporary music.
Payam Jafari was born on August 30th, 1991 in Tehran, Iran. He is best known for his short film Unknown (2012). Payam studied motion picture and television directing at Academy of Art University in San Francisco finishing in 2017, and Sooreh Art University in Tehran graduating in 2013. He started writing and directing plays when he was nine years old. At the same time, he started to play two traditional Persian instruments, Setar and Tombak. Three years later he started painting under the direction of prominent Iranian painter and calligrapher professor Hossein Kashian. Payam had his first solo painting exhibition in Tehran in 2009. During his undergraduate studies, he made 5 short films. In 2012, out of 1000 shorts at Shamseh Film Festival, he won the best directing award for Unknown. Unknown was accepted in New Filmmakers Festival in New York in 2014. Hidden Crimson will be Payam's first feature film, starring Iranian legend Behrouz Vossoughi.
Roshan Houshmand is an Iranian/American artist and educator who was born in the Philippines in 1961 and raised there and in Iran. Her BA is from Bennington College (1982) in Vermont, and her MA and MFA are from Dominican University’s Rosary College Graduate School of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy (1983, 84). A life-long learner, she has also studied extensively in NYC with J. Alpuy of the Taller of J. Torres Garcia and most recently at Schechen Monastery’s Tsering Art School in Nepal.
Houshmand’s work is exhibited and collected internationally and was recently featured in Italia Docet/Laboratorium, a collateral event of the 56th Venice Biennale and in the exhibition “21st Century American Women Artists” at the US Mission to NATO in Brussels, Belgium with ART in Embassies. She received the Special Merit Recognition Award for the Representation of Scientific/Mathematical Principle and Phenomena at “SMARTART” at The Next Big Idea in Los Alamos, NM. Roshan has received numerous other awards and grants from NYSCA, NYFA, etc. and currently lives and works in Andes, NY. She teaches painting and art appreciation at SUNY Delhi in upstate NY and is an online drawing instructor with Southern New Hampshire University.
Niloufar Iravani, a composer of acoustic and electroacoustic music, received bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance and master’s degree in Music Composition from the University of Tehran. Several national honors including 27th rank in Iran’s National Entrance Exam of bachelor’s degree in the arts group and the general 2nd rank in Iran’s National Entrance Exam of master’s degree in the field of musical arts and her outstanding academic status, led her to become a member of Iran's National Elites Foundation and Iran House of Music.
She is currently studying Ph.D. in Music Composition at Louisiana State University (LSU) under the supervision of Prof. Dinos Constantinides and serving as the coordinator of LSU Composers Forum. Iravani’s music has been performed nationally and internationally by recognized ensembles and soloists and presented in professional festivals and conferences in the US and around the world. Iravani is the recipient of Iran’s National Elite Foundation award and the first prize winner of Southeastern Composers League (SCL) 2018 Philip Slates Memorial Competition for Graduate Students. She has also been selected and awarded at American Composers Orchestra (ACO) EarShot 2018 Readings and recognized as the finalist of American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Morton Gould Young Composer Awards.
Erfan was raised in a family that highly values poetry and literature. From a young age, he began to appreciate the literary arts, and he was soon engulfed in philosophical, political, cultural, and religious studies. This exposure eventually led Erfan to embark on his own journey to becoming a modern-day Persian poet. Although he had never lost sight of his heritage, continuing to study Persian greats from the past, Erfan was also fascinated by the western art forms of hip-hop, rap, rock, and alternative music.
In 2007, at the age of 23, Erfan released his debut album, Az Khaaneh Taa Goor. By this time, Erfan had proved to be in touch with his generation—he offered a blunt and honest perspective on topics ranging from the everyday life of a transplanted immigrant to the suppressive regime in Iran.
Today, Erfan continues his musical journey. Along with his solo pursuits, Erfan is the founding member of Paydar, a grass-roots company formed to support and enrich the growth of its members while promoting true Persian hip-hop, rap, and R&B. Paydar boasts a talented cast of song writers, producers, designers, and marketing talent.
Shadi Ghaheri is a theatre director and choreographer from Tehran, Iran based in New York City. She graduated from Yale School of Drama with a MFA in Directing where she has directed Bahram Beyzai’s Death of Yazdgerd, The Girl is Chained, Titus Andronicus and Wrong River. At Yale Cabaret, she translated and directed Slow Sound of Snow by Jaber Rmezani, and a trio devised movement pieces named, فریاد, Butterfly’s Terror and Post Scream and Terror with all-female company. As Co-Artistic Director of the 2017 Yale Summer Cabaret, Shadi co-curated a four-play season entitled Canon Balle, directing Ellen McLaughlin’s Trojan Women, and LEAR by Young Jean Lee.
Shadi ran Shahid Beheshti University’s Theatre Club as the first female president and produced Art by Yasmina Reza and A Stranger Walking in My Room, a collage of three monologues by August Strindberg, Eugene O'Neill, and Harold Pinter. For several years, Shadi has been doing theatre workshops with children refugees under age of 18 from Afghanistan who are working under terrible conditions in Iran. Shadi is a 2016 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow.
Right now Shadi is the directing fellow at Rattlestick theatre in New York City. She has a production of Last Days of Judas Iscariot coming up in Williams College in February 2019. Also She is translating and developing Bahram Beyzai’s One Thousand and One Night in order to produce in New York City.
Shirin is a pianist, dancer, choreographer, and figure skater. She started learning piano at the age of 4, under the tutelage of renowned professors in Iran such as Ms. Clara Bokuchava. She continued studying piano performance at the University of Tehran with Professor Raphael Minaskanian. Prior to entering the University of Tehran, Shirin ranked 2nd out of 34,000 students in the National University Entrance Exam in 2012. During her years as a pianist and a piano student, she participated in several piano festivals and bi-annuals in Iran, consecutively ranking among the top three performers. Shirin worked as a piano teacher at the Tehran Conservatory of Music, while also accompanying string and brass students at the University of Tehran. Since moving to the United States, she has continued teaching piano to students of all levels and ages in San Francisco and in Washington DC.
Shirin is also a ballerina and a contemporary dancer. She started learning ballet at a young age at Pars Music Center in Iran with Professor Lidiya Avenisian. Alongside ballet, she learned contemporary and modern dance from Ms. Atefeh Tehrani and Mr. Mohammad Abbasi. She performed an improvised modern and ballet piece in collaboration with Walter Baco at the Austrian Cultural Forum (OKF- Austrian Embassy) in 2012 and choreographed several pieces during classes and workshops. After immigrating to the United States, Shirin continued dancing and attending classes at City Dance and Lines Ballet Company in San Francisco. She performed for the Spring Dance Festival at the City College of San Francisco and the Persian Festival at the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts (SOTA). She recently performed the choreographic work of renowned dancer and choreographer Victor Talledos at the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival alongside with the Lines Ballet Company dancers. She has also taken extensive flying trapeze classes with the Circus Center and has experience in salsa and ballroom dancing. In addition to dancing, Shirin is currently aspiring to become a competitive figure skater and is taking classes at the Yerba Buena Ice Rink in San Francisco and the Wheaton Ice Arena in Maryland.
Shabnam Jafarinasab Kermani was born in Tehran, Iran. She began her piano studies at the age of 7 in Tehran and studied with well-known piano professors such as Ms. Clara Bokuchava.
At the age of 14, she immigrated to the United States with her family and attended the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA) for her junior and senior years of high school. As a piano student in SOTA, she gained a rich musical education ranging from solo piano performance to chamber music ensembles and accompaniment, and performed in several school-wide concerts as a solo pianist, vocal accompanist, a member of chamber ensembles and orchestra pianist. She also performed in events such as the 2016 Macy’s Spring Flower Show. She studied with distinguished music instructors such as SOTA piano director, Ava Soifer, Mr. Jace Wittig, SOTA vocal director, Ms. Kristen Grzeca and Bay Area Composer, Andrew Vickers. She began composition in her senior year on her own and later, under the guidance of Mr. Vickers.
At SOTA, Shabnam and her family hosted the first-ever Persian Festival at SOTA, during which she performed a number of Persian folk music on the piano. During her high school years, she also took acting classes at the First Take Acting School with Nancy Berwid.
With a passion for film music, Shabnam now attends the San Francisco State Univerity as a cinema student with a minor in music and has started learning the cello at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with the Principal Cellist of Symphony Silicon Valley, Evan Kahn, while still playing the piano. Shabnam is also a figure skater and visual artist and recently performed a piece by the renowned dancer and choreographer, Victor Talledos, along with the Alonzo King Ballet Company at the San Francisco Yerba Buena Gardens Festival.
Shabnam continues to compose solo piano and orchestral pieces on her own. She aspires to study film composition and Greek and Roman classics and mythology in her future college years.
Behrooz Ghorbanian has been living in the US since 1975. He has a bachelor’s degree in arts and sciences. He has keen interest in philosophy, and has attended the graduate faculty at the New School for social research in philosophy.
Ala Hashemi’s work can be described as narrative impressionistic realism. Specializing in acrylic paint and charcoal, he began drawing at a young age and began selling professionally at age 16. Ala’s art has evolved over time to become more narrative. Though still maintaining figures as his prime subject matter, he is telling more stories, and his series are becoming more thematic. Drawing on his experience of growing up on three different continents, Ala’s work maintains the viewpoint of a familiar outsider – constantly reexamining that which is taken for granted. On a constant quest to push new boundaries, he is persistent in experimenting with his inspirations and artistic translations, and in pursuing ever more complicated compositions.
Maryam Monalisa Gharavi is an artist, poet, and theorist whose work explores the interplay between aesthetic and political valences in the public domain. Exhibitions and performances have taken place at: Nottingham Contemporary, UK; Serpentine Cinema, UK; Townhouse Gallery, Egypt; Pioneer Works, U.S.; Sonic Acts, the Netherlands; The Poetry Project, U.S.; Museum of Fine Arts Boston, U.S.; Art Dubai; UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, U.S.; and Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, U.S. Expanded publications have featured in: Triple Canopy, Women and Performance, Ibraaz, The White Review, Art in America, and The New Inquiry, among others. She has been an artist-in-residence at: Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridgeshire; Industry Lab, Cambridge; Delfina Foundation, London; Darat al Funun, Amman; and Mansion, Beirut. She completed a PhD in Comparative Literature and Film & Visual Studies at Harvard University and an MFA in Film/Video at Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College, and held a Fulbright U.S. Scholar/Visiting Professorship at Birzeit University. She was a lecturer at Harvard University, 2013–2017, and has served as a visiting artist/lecturer at New York University; Valand Academy, Sweden; and Cambridge School of Art – Anglia Ruskin University, among others. Book publications include: a translation of Waly Salomão’s Algaravias: Echo Chamber (nominated for the 2017 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation); the poetry volume The Distancing Effect; the illustrated text Apparent Horizon 2; the chapbook Alphabet of an Unknown City (Belladonna*); and in 2018, and in 2018, Bio (Inventory Press). She was editor at The New Inquiry 2012–2017, and is author of the open text South/South.
Farima Fooladi was born in Tehran, Iran / She is currently living in the United States creating paintings in her Studio in Houston, Texas / She is an Artist in residence at the Box13 ArtSpace/ She completed her MFA in Painting and Drawing at the Penn State University, College of Art and Architecture/ Her works includes commentary on imagery, themes, symbols and stories from Iranian visual and literature / Her recent research topic has been collective trauma and its long effect on cultures / She is fascinated by the lasting impact of collective trauma caused by Invasion, Migration and displacement/ In her recent paintings “ Reimagining My City” she is addressing displacement, delved into different historical and emotional layers of public spaces and memory /Transformation of civic spaces caused by social and political changes is of a particular interest to her.