Born in Ahwaz, Iran, Samira Abbassy moved to London as a child. After graduating in 1987 from Canterbury College of Art with a BA, with honours, in Fine Art/Painting, she began exhibiting in London. In 1988, Abbassy moved to New York City to help found the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Studio Program, where she currently has lifetime tenure and is a board member. Her work has shown internationally and has been acquired for private and public collections at many prestigious institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the British Museum, London. In April 2012, she was the artist in residence at the University of Virginia, and she has recently been nominated for the Jameel Prize.
Hesam Abedini is a graduate of the Tehran Music Conservatory and holds his B.A. in Music Composition with honors from University of California, San Diego. He is the founding member of the Sibarg Ensemble and the director of “From Isfahan to Irvine,” which is a documentary granted by the National Endowment for the Arts. Hesam is the recipient of Farrell prize, Turetzky Award, Stout Award, and Chancellors’ Awards at UC San Diego.
He received his diploma in piano performance and composition from the Tehran Music Conservatory and has also studied at the Yerevan Conservatory in Armenia for three years where he studied piano performance with Dr. George Sarajian. Since 2011, he has been researching classical Persian music theory and studying the Persian vocal repertoire under the direction and supervision of Dr. Hossein Omoumi, Maseeh Professor of Music at UC Irvine. He studied music composition with Dr. Lei Liang, Chinary Ung, Anthony Davis and improvisation with Mark Dresser. His compositions have been performed by various musicians and ensembles such as, selected members of the Atlas Ensemble, Del Sol Quartet, and Mark Dresser’s Bass Ensemble.
Recently, Hesam was admitted to pursue his Ph.D. in Integrated Composition, Improvisation and Technology at the University of California, Irvine where he has been awarded a Dean’s Fellowship from the Claire Trevor School of the Arts as well as a UC Irvine Diversity Recruitment Fellowship.
Kaveh N. Adel holds a doctorate degree in Dentistry from the University of Iowa, where he majored in Biochemistry and Studio Art. He has a private practice in Naperville and holds professional memberships in the ADA, ISDS, and CDS.
Born and raised in Iran, Kaveh is fluent in Persian. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1987. His passion for current events and cross cultural dialogue inspired him to draw cartoons about human rights, world politics, domestic politics, the environment, and pop culture. He is an associate member of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists. As a children’s book author and illustrator, he holds readings at local bookstores and elementary schools.
Inspired by the displacement she felt while growing up in Tehran, Golnar Adili constructs photographs, collages, and assemblages that explore the longing she felt growing up between Iran and the US, always missing a place or a person. Stacking photographs with beeswax paper, she creates intricate collages that physically convey the notion of layers of meaning. Some of the venues where Adili has shown her work include Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles, International Print Center, Brooklyn Arts Council, and the Lower East Side Printshop, all in New York. Some of the grants she has received include the Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, a 2009 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Printmaking/Drawing/Artists Books, the Puffin Foundation Grant, and the Urban Artist Initiative grant.
An extraordinary artist, Lily Afshar has grounded her career on a strong foundation of excellent formal education, upon which she has built an exceptional record of innovative achievements. With a bachelor's degree from the Boston Conservatory, she earned her Master of Music at the New England Conservatory and went on to study at Florida State University, where she became the first woman in the world to be awarded the degree of Doctor of Music in guitar performance. She pursued greater proficiency with summer studies at the Banff Centre for Fine Arts and the Aspen Music Festival, advanced training at Gargnano, Italy, the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, and master classes with Andrés Segovia at the University of Southern California.
Since becoming a tenured professor and head of the guitar program at the University of Memphis Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music, Afshar has received the 2000 Eminent Faculty Award, and in 2011 she was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Boston Conservatory. She conducts master classes worldwide and has released six instructional DVDs. She also produced a DVD entitled “Virtuoso Guitar” featuring live performances and an interview with Mel Bay. As a performing guitarist, Lily has won a top prize in the Guitar Foundation of America Competition, Grand Prize in the Aspen Music Festival Guitar Competition, the Orville H. Gibson Award for Best Female Classical Guitarist, and a National Endowment for the Arts Recording Award, among others. She was also chosen as an “Artistic Ambassador” to Africa for the United States Information Agency.
With her passion for going beyond the traditional guitar repertoire, contemporary classical composers have sought after Lily for creative collaborations resulting in notable world premieres, including work with Carlo Domeniconi, John Baur, Reza Vali, Garry Eister, Gerard Drozd, Loris Chobanian, Arne Mellnas, Kamran Ince, Barbara Kolb, Marilyn Ziffrin, David Kechley, and Salvador Brotons. Most of these collaborations can be heard on Lily's seven CDs.
Afshar's Persian heritage has given rise to some of her greatest musical innovations. Born in Iran to a musical family, she has drawn from Persian and Azerbaijani folk music traditions to create arrangements of works for the classical guitar which are as rich and beautiful as a Persian miniature. She arranged for guitar and published Five Popular Persian Ballads with Mel Bay, and is presently creating a new collection of guitar arrangements of traditional Persian and Azerbaijani songs. She has also fascinated concert goers with occasional live performance on the seh- tar, a traditional Persian instrument which evolved over many centuries into the guitar.
A true citizen of the world, Afshar’s concert touring has taken her to solo, chamber music, and orchestral performance venues in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. From Wigmore Hall in London to the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, she has played before a wide range of audiences and learned to bridge gaps of culture and distance through her music.
Seyed Alavi's overall artistic methodology is highly site responsive and takes numerous physical and conceptual aspects of location into consideration. He is inspired by a whimsical, playful approach that is also informed by engaging philosophical and conceptual twists. Seyed believes that a playful context allows the viewer to befriend the artwork and have a comfortable and welcoming experience. He maintains that once this type of relationship has been established, the deeper, conceptual layers can then gradually reveal themselves over time through the process of reflection.
Reza Alhosseini received his MFA from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco in 2015.
Since 2003 his paintings have been included in numerous solo and group shows worldwide.
He was accepted for the Annual Homa Art Gallery’s group show “Selected of the New Generation” in 2006 and the 18th annual “New Generations” group show at the de Young Museum in San Francisco in 2014.
He has been accepted to the California Art Club (CAC), Oil Painters of America (OPA), and Society of Iranian Painters (SIP).
Painting is a perennial search and exploration of Reza's everyday life.
He believes that there is an inseparable chain between concept and technique and they should correspond to each other in a harmonious way. For Reza, the process of creating paintings is a constant effort to find the clearest expression in his chosen medium.
Morehshin Allahyari is a media artist, activist, educator, and curator. Her work extensively deals with political, social, and cultural contradictions we face every day, documenting personal and collective struggles humans face in this century. Allahyari’s Material Speculation: ISIS, a digital fabrication project by that inspects petropolitical and poetic relationships between 3D printing, oil, techno-capitalism and jihadism, reconstructs artifacts destroyed by ISIS in 2015. The project has achieved wide acclaim for proposing 3D printing technology as a tool both for resistance and documentation. Allahyari’s work has been part of numerous exhibitions, festivals, and workshops including Museum of Contemporary Art in Montreal, Pori Museum, Dallas Museum of Art, Museo Ex-Teresa Arte Actual, Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston, Museum für Angewandte Kunst, and Material Mexico City.
Roya Amigh grew up with Persian mythology recounted by her uncle. Persian storytelling does not follow a linear structure; it is based on stories passed down from one person to another, where fiction and truth merge. The line of narration can go on and on, inevitably creating stories within stories and fictions within fictions. Roya says, “Echoing the natural distortions of memory, I create my own version of this mythology in my practice, featuring stories that happened to me or to the women I know.”
Amigh earned MFA degrees from the Central Azad University in Tehran in 2010 and Boston University in 2012. She was included in group shows at the Katonah Museum of Art, Macy Gallery at Columbia University, Sloane House Gallery in Boston, and Sherman Gallery at Boston University. She was artist-in-residence at the Art Omi (Ghent, NY), The Millay Colony For The Arts (Austerlitz, NY), and Vermont Studio Center. She will have several forthcoming shows for 2017 including a solo show at the FiveMyles Gallery in NYC and a group show at The Art Complex Museum in Duxbury, MA.
Afruz Amighi (b. 1974 in Iran) is the inaugural recipient of the Jameel Prize for Middle Eastern Contemporary Art, awarded by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Raised in New York by Jewish and Zoroastrian parents, Afruz completed her BA in political science at Barnard College before going on to complete her MFA at New York University. Amighi has exhibited her work in the United States, London, and the Middle East. In 2011, she was granted the fellowship in sculpture by the New York Foundation for the Arts. In 2013, Amighi’s work was commissioned for the 55th Venice Biennale. Her work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Houston Museum of Fine Art, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and the Devi Foundation, among others. Amighi currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Martin Amini was born and raised in Silver Spring, MD. Over the past 5 years, Martin has performed at comedy clubs and colleges across the country. He has opened for touring headliners like Trevor Noah, Jerrod Carmichael, and Jermaine Fowler. As an individual coming from an Iranian and Bolivian background, Martin focuses much of his stand-up on what it's like to grow up "mixed" in America. In the past year, Martin has appeared in the Washington Post, Complex Magazine, and Revolt TV.
Max Amini, born in Tucson, Arizona, was raised on the East Coast and graduated from UCLA’s school of Theater, Film, and Television in 2004. As an actor, Max has over 50 film and television credits including NBC’s Heroes, regular appearances on Comedy Central’s Mind of Mencia, and a leading role in the film Beyond Paradise.
While in college Max launched his stand-up comedy career. He quickly built a reputation as one of the fastest growing comedians in the Los Angeles comedy circuit. In 2006 the world famous Laugh Factory in Hollywood recognized Max’s brilliant performances, hard work, and dedication to his craft by naming him a resident comic. In 2009 Max was chosen as one of the finalists for NBC’s Diversity Showcase. He would later use this experience to develop a stand-up comedy tour in 2010 named “Exotic Imports” featuring second-generation Americans coming from diverse cultural backgrounds. His tour was very successful and sold out across the country.
Max is now headlining his own shows and has taken his tours internationally, selling out around the world in Canada, the UK, Australia, Germany, Dubai, Sweden, Kuala Lumpur, and more. Demanding to see Max in action, fans push Max to add additional shows on his world tours. While his international popularity grows, his online presence also persists with his YouTube channel garnering over 10 million views.
Through an array of eccentric impressions and novel story telling, Max expresses his comedy by delivering a strong message about family ties, cultural issues, and social topics. What really sets Max apart from most comedians is his uncanny ability to improvise and create on the spot. This makes him unique as an entertainer, and it is not uncommon for an audience member to sit through two Max Amini shows in one night, witnessing two totally different performances.
Born in 1981 in Tehran, Iran, Aminikia studied music composition in Russia at the St. Petersburg State Conservatory under Boris Ivanovich Tishchenko, a post-graduate student of Dimitri Shostakovich. In his homeland, Aminikia studied under Iranian pianists Nikan Milani, Safa Shahidi and Gagik Babayan. He was perhaps most influenced by work with his first teacher and composer , Mehran Rouhani, a post-graduate of Royal Academy of Music and a former student of Sir Michael Tippett.
He received his Bachelor of Music and his Master of Music with honors from San Francisco Conservatory of Music under Dan Becker, David Garner and David Conte where he was the proud recipient of Phyllis Wattis Foundation scholarship. He has also received lessons from Conrad Susa, Richard Danielpour, John Corigliano, Oswaldo Golijov and John Adams. Aminikia is currently a faculty member at San Francisco Academy of Art University while maintaining his career as a freelance composer.
He is the recipient of many various commissions from theatre troops to contemporary classical ensembles, film scores, Persian traditional music groups to jazz bands including Kronos Quartet, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Symphony Parnassus, San Francisco Conservatory of Music New Music Ensemble, Mobius Trio, Delphi Trio and Living Earth Show.
His third string quartet,"A Threnody for Those Who Remain", commissioned by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Kronos Performing Arts Association was described by Financial Times as “An experience not to be easily forgotten”.
His music has been widely performed in United States, Canada, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Ecuador, France, Italy, Poland, China, Greece, Turkey and Israel and at venues such Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Le Poisson Rouge, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, SF Exploratorium, SFJazz and Saint Anne's Warehouse.
His “Tar o Pood” (Warp and Weft) (2014) commissioned by Nasrin Marzban for Kronos Quartet was the second place recipient of the American Prize 2015 in composition, professional chamber music category. He was recently the artist-in-residence at Kronos Festival 2017, an annual festival held by legendary Kronos Quaretet at San Francisco SFJAZZ throughout which ten of his works including four new pieces were performed. His most recent piece for the same festival, was a collaboration between Kronos Quartet, San Francisco Girls Chorus and Afghanistan National Institute of Music which resulted in a 20-minute choral piece named "Music of Spheres". Aminikia was called by SF Chronicle, “an artist singularly equipped to provide a soundtrack to these unsettling times".
Armin Amiri was born in Tehran, Iran. At the age of 13, his parents helped him to get from Iran to Turkey, where he was then smuggled to Austria. Here, young Armin became a refugee in a camp outside of the Vienna.
By the age of 18, Armin made it to San Francisco, where he attended ACT drama school. He then relocated to New York, where he began many new endeavors. He studied at the Actors Studio, taught drama, and began designing bars and restaurants in the city.
At present, Armin is living in Los Angeles, California. While continuing to act, he is producing a TV series with the Fisher Stevens company. He is also writing a book.
Katayoun is an Iranian-born ceramicist and sculptor. She belongs to the generation of Iranian women who experienced a childhood of wartime and an adolescence of social and political turmoil under the post-revolutionary regime. Drawing from her personal experiences, Katayoun examines different aspects of individual, cultural, and national identity. Her main source of inspiration comes from the simplest and earliest surviving man-made forms, iconic cultural images, and pre-historic artifacts. Her art explores the relationship between past and present, tradition and modernity, individual versus collective identity, as well as engaging a discourse about history and temporality.
Katayoun Amjadi is currently a teacher assistant and MFA candidate at the University of Minnesota. Her work has been exhibited in several group and solo exhibitions nationally and internationally, at the Minnesota Museum of American Arts, Weisman Art Museum, Instinct Art Gallery, The Soap Factory, Rochester Art Center, Beijing Film Academy, and 7Samar Gallery in Tehran.
Anousheh is known for her epic melodies. This Grammy-nominated Iranian-American songwriter has captivated audiences both overseas and in her hometown of Richmond, Virginia. She started writing at her piano as a young girl, but found a home in her first album, “Let the Ground Know Who’s Standing on Him” (2005).
Shortly after this release, Anousheh went outside of her genre through her-chart topping collaborations with two Iranian-American DJs, Deep Dish and DJ Sharam. She released her long-awaited full-length album, "Make Noise," in February 2015. Anousheh's latest singles, "Bones" and "Get To You" (2016) have received critical acclaim.
Ramin Amir Arjomand is an Iranian-born composer, pianist, conductor, and teacher based in Brooklyn, New York.
His compositions draw on a diverse range of musical and intellectual interests, exhibiting a preference for polyphonic structure and emphasizing expression as conveyed through formal complexity. He has made music exploring uses of diatonic sets in non-tonal contexts, integrating formal and rhythmic principles of Persian poetry, inspired by Gregorian chants, Catholic texts and numerology, utilizing miniature as well as large scale forms, and, extensively, using pure improvisation as a means to achieve transcendence.
As a pianist whose long-form solo improvisational playing has been described as "grand, tectonic, torrential as the forces of nature unleashed, yet fully under control” (Nader Ardalan, award-winning architect), he appears frequently in New York City venues including The Stone, Issue Project Room, Miller Theatre, and Spectrum. His creative approach cultivates spontaneity and thrives on questioning the need for pre-conceived formal structures in performance. His electroacoustic music works primarily with recorded improvised sound material.
While a doctoral fellow at Columbia University, he was the director and conductor of the university's early music choir, Collegium Musicum. During this time he began to research the polyphonic technique of 15th century Flemish composers, whose music became the main focus of his concert repertoire with the Collegium. His interest in vocal music and in speech as music has led to a wide range of concert, electroacoustic and music theater works that experiment with the human voice in different ways. His work Alma Redemptoris mater for 12-part a cappella choir was awarded First Prize in the New York Virtuoso Singers Choral Composition Competition and was premiered in New York City with Harold Rosenbaum conducting.
He has worked extensively as a composer, pianist, lecturer, and musical adviser with the Barnard College Department of Dance. His approach to dance theater composition emphasizes contrapuntal relationships between sound and movement. He has worked to develop collaborative models in which composer and choreographer can trust one another to work freely and independently toward a common goal. His collaboration with choreographer Laveen Naidu, like arrows in the hand of a warrior, daybreak, was commissioned by the Barnard Dance Department and presented in Miller Theatre in New York City.
In 2014, he created the concert series Reinterpretations, fiscally sponsored by New York Foundation for the Arts. Events in the series take two formats: prepared presentation of classically-scored compositions, and performance of pure improvised music. The series incorporates a pedagogical-discussion element directed to the experiential presentation of key ideas and concepts that concern composers, examining their effect on classical composition and performance practice. A highly sought-after teacher, he is currently on faculty at Columbia University and the Steinhardt School at New York University.
Kamyar Arsani is a multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter born and raised in Tehran, Iran. Kamyar's musical mission is to spread cultural awareness and unity by mixing contemporary musical trends with traditional Persian folk music.
At age 7, Kamyar began daf (Persian frame drum) lessons with Master Bijan Kamkar. Kamyar also spent time playing meditative rhythms for hours at a time for Sufis. Kamyar has spent over 20 years performing and researching the daf and its roots. His second choice of instrument was the kamancheh (Persian string bow instrument) and he studied it with Masters Ardeshir Kamkar and Sohrab Pournazeri. Kamyar has also taught himself how to play other instruments including guitar, a variety of percussion instruments, melodica, ukulele and more.
Less than ten years ago, Kamyar and his family migrated to the United States around the same time that Iran's Green Revolution was occurring. Kamyar's songs and performances are very much inspired by the people of Iran and their history of struggle and protest.
He produced his first solo album in 2015, entitled "No Freedom." The album was dedicated to those oppressed by societies all around the world. (See https://kamyararsani.bandcamp.com/releases.)
Kamyar also plays in two other collaborations: "Huda & Kamyar," a daf and oud Duo, and "Time is Fire," a weird world/post-punk band.
Huda & Kamyar is a project between Palestinian oud player Huda Asfour and Kamyar on the daf. They tour locally with the goal of bringing middle eastern traditional and contemporary music to broader audiences. (See https://youtu.be/6xYHtZvVF5o.)
Kamyar is also the poet and singer of "Time is Fire (TiF)." Their music has been described by Washington Post as "Music from a country that does not exist." (https://www.washingtonpost.com/goingoutguide/music/time-is-fires-music-from-a-country-that-doesnt-exist/2016/04/07/04191966-f752-11e5-9804-537defcc3cf6_story.html)
Kamyar takes on a different character performing with Time is Fire, wearing his sikke (a Sufi hat representing the "tombstone of Ego") and singing poems of resistance and freedom in English and Farsi. Within the four member band's worldly, funky, post-punky, afro-infected music, the sikke and poems make perfect sense. Their sound has been evolving since the group first came together in 2015. Washington City Paper: "Time Is Fire could have limitless places to go." Time is Fire recently released an EP that can be found here: https://electriccowbellrecords.bandcamp.com/album/angels.
Born in 1982 in Shiraz, Iran and currently living in Rochester, NY, award winning director and animator, Meghdad Asadi Lari started his higher education in 2000 by studying Electrical Engineering at Shiraz University, where he continued to a M.Sc. in Communications Engineering.
Not long after completing his technical degrees, Meghdad decided to step into the art field as a creative professional and pursue his passion of animation and film.
Meghdad started his MFA degree in Computer Animation at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and directed and produced several animated films which played at more than 100 festivals worldwide and gained several national and international awards.
Meghdad’s artistic, creative and technical abilities have been recognized as adept and transformational across the international landscape both by academia and those within the animation industry.
is works has been part of numerous exhibitions, festivals, and workshops including the Walt Disney Family Museum, the Hamburg Museum for Art and Design (MK&G), and the Student Academy Awards.
Meghdad is a Visiting Assistant Professor at RIT’s School of Design and is currently involved with directing and producing a variety of animated short films. He is also collaborating with several educational and animation projects where he offers his technical and artistic skills to studios in the United Stated and around the globe.
Sholeh Asgary is a visual and sound artist born in Tehran, Iran and raised on the West Coast. As an Iranian refugee, her work addresses the ways in which objects represent syntax and how disambiguation can actually break down language and history. Utilizing cross-sections between photography, painting, light, projection, and sound, Asgary creates sculpted environments that are lit much like objects to be photographed, leaving the mechanical trace of the camera to the viewer’s stance. Asgary received her MFA in studio art from Mills College in 2011 and her BA in studio art from San Francisco State University in 2006. A Tosa Studio Award nominee, her work has been shown in Montreal, New York, and the David Brower Center in the Bay Area. Sholeh has also been featured in shows by Jennifer Blessing, Lucinda Barnes, and Jasmine Moorhead.
Previously, Asgary was the director of the Project Room at Incline Gallery in San Francisco, CA, where she also curated shows and was a recipient of the Alternative Exposure Grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation in 2014. Currently, Sholeh is an adjunct professor in history of photography and studio arts. She is composing a compilation of sound and video to be released in the summer of 2017 for distribution and screening.
Brooklyn-based artist Andisheh Avini’s artistic practice includes painting, drawing, printmaking, and sculpture, often incorporating the traditional craft of marquetry. Avini explores the duality of his own identity by combining iconic Iranian images like Persian calligraphy, decorative peacock motifs, and political figures with occidental concepts of minimalism and abstraction. Avini’s approach speaks to a larger globalized society of nomads and dispersed individuals and reflects a contemporary multicultural experience to which many can relate.
Johnny Azari is a musician, composer, song writer, record producer, and musician. Johnny was born in Shiraz, a city known for wine, poetry, opium, and revolution. At a year old, he was relocated to a city known as New York, a place noted for grit, madness, money, and proliferation. There he was raised. When Johnny isn't on tour, he lives in New Orleans writing and recording. These things have no influence on him whatsoever.
Johnny plays his own mutant form of the Mississippi Delta-Blues. His live shows blend music with storytelling and comedy. Azari has been on national tour since 2013 and he recorded his fourth LP, "Songs From A Motel Room," during his 2016 tour. Azari has scored film (“Illusions & Mirrors,” starring Natalie Portman) and served as guest lecturer and performer at Brown University. He has seen two of his videos, “Occupation Blues” and “Freedom Glory Be Our Name” gain viral success.
Roxanna ‘Roxy’ Azari is an Iranian-American spoken word poet, performer, and educator. Azari combines her passion of art and activism by leading nation-wide performances and poetry workshops for students to explore and utilize their voices. Much of her work on college campuses focuses on social justice issues such as intersectionality, gender, masculinity, race, Middle Eastern politics, colonialism, and privilege. Azari is a former NY Knicks Poetry Slam and Urban Word NYC Poetry Slam winner. Her NYC slam team went on to compete in the internationally acclaimed Brave New Voices competition. Azari has performed at the Nuyorican Poets Café, the Bowery Poetry club and Madison Square Garden. She has also appeared at universities such as: NYU, Columbia, Brown, Middlebury, Duke, and Emerson. She has been featured in two TV commercials and published in The New York Times, Elementz of Life, Rushlight, The Greater Boston Intercollegiate Poetry Festival, and the Youth Anthology: Connect. In 2010, Azari was awarded the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, which enabled her to provide poetry and performance workshops with young women in the Middle East, Europe, North Africa and South-East Asia. As a Watson Fellow, Azari was a featured poet at Culture Rapide in Paris and held numerous performances in Morocco, India, Indonesia and Turkey. Holding a BA in English Literature: Creative Writing and Women’s Studies from Wheaton College (MA) and an MSc in Gender, Development and Globalization from the London School of Economics, Azari infuses her academic background with her visions of challenging social, political, and economic inequalities. In addition to her workshops and performances, Azari currently serves as an Instructor for the Women's and Gender department at Hunter College and an Associate for Hewlett Consulting Partners, a boutique advisory firm consulting on issues of diversity and inclusion.
Mahnaz Badihian is a poet, painter, and translator whose work has been published into several languages worldwide. Her work has appeared in many literary magazine and anthologies. She won an award for a selection of her poetry (XIV Premio Letterario Internazionale Trofeo Penna d’Autore, Tornio) translated into Italian by Cristina Contili and Pirooz Ebrahimi. She also presented a paper on erotic literature by Iranian women in the Diaspora at the American Comparative Literature Association's 2008 annual conference.
Mahnaz was a resident artist in Camac, France in 2011. She was invited In summer 2013 to participate in the World Festival of Poetry, joining poets from around the world in Peru and Bolivia.
She received her MFA in poetry from Pacific University. An anthology of protest poetry by young poets in Iran (translated by Mahnaz and edited by San Francisco's beloved poet Jack Hirschman) called “Saplings Arise” was published in summer 2013 in San Francisco. Mahnaz is an active member of the RPB (Revolutionary Poet Brigade) of San Francisco.
Mahnaz Badihian was a guest speaker at AWP 2014, an annual conference and book fair in Seattle.
In 2015 Celia Hirschman produced a CD of Rumi poems, "Like This," read in Farsi by Mahnaz and in English by Jack Hirschman.
Mahnaz's solo art exhibit will be in San Francisco in the fall of 2017.
Farhad Bahram’s work revolves around the idea of ‘affirmative destruction’ and negating the peripheral relationship between medium and message. In his works, destructed medium appears as a cultural object that is not self-sufficient or merely related to the archeology of its existence but rather to the contingency of its reception within the space.
Bahram unpacks his installations and performances through presenting texts that are impotent of conveying their intended message, destructed photos that are depleted from the iconic value of an image, and bodies that are unable to introduce the real identity of individuals. Within this destructive space lies an important and affirmative sentiment, which is the main objective in Bahram’s work: the possibility of relocating the meaning from within the art object to the contingencies of the reception process.
His work has been exhibited internationally in more than 30 shows and exhibitions, including Gowanus Loft, Yerba Buena Center For the Arts, Mission Cultural Center, Reed College, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Hult Center for the Performing Arts, Asian Resource Gallery, Umpqua Valley Arts Center, Siuslaw Public Library, Plâtre et Moi Gallery (Paris), Laatikkomo (Finland), Aaran Gallery (Tehran), Fravahr Art Gallery (Tehran), and Sazmanab Center for Contemporary Art (Tehran).
Bahram received an MFA in photography from the University of Oregon in 2015, and he is currently teaching art at the University of Oregon.
Roya Bahrami: Founder of Roya Multicultural Ensemble, Music Director, Composer, Arranger, Lyricist, Santur, Vocals
2016 recipient of the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities' (DC Arts) Artist Fellowship grant; 2014 recipient of the DC Arts' City Arts Project grant for "Innovation in World Music & Dance"; 2012 recipient of the DC Arts' Individual Artist grant for creating "Cultural Dialogue through Music"; and 2009 recipient of DC Arts' Folk Arts grant for creating and presenting "Understanding Multicultural Identity through Artistic Expression."
Roya Bahrami, a native of Iran who migrated to the U.S. as a teenager, holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from University of Maryland and worked as a telecommunications professional for many years before dedicating herself full-time starting in July of 2004 to what had been a part-time career in music. Roya has studied Persian classical music with such masters as M.R. Lotfi, Hossein Alizadeh, and Dariush Talai. She has also studied Western classical music and Spanish flamenco resulting in a natural blend of these traditions in her compositions. She has completed a certification program at Berklee College of Music with concentration on Music Production, Music Publication, Arrangement, and Orchestration.
Roya has developed and offers lecture-performance programs on topics such as: “Music and Spirituality,” and “Traces of Persian Music in Andalusia”. Her solo and educational performance credits include National Gallery of Art, Library of Congress, Rumi Forum, American University, Maryland University, World Cimbalom Congress: 2009 in Mexico, 2011 in Hungary, 2017 in Slovakia, Hackbrett Festival in Austria (2013). She accompanied the flamenco dancer Carmela Greco on her U. S. tour and has performed on Spain’s national TV as well as at the Museum of Flamenco Dance in Seville. Roya has been interviewed and her music has been featured on Voice Of America and BBC in several broadcasts to millions of Persian speaking viewers and listeners in Iran and all over the world.
In 2007, Roya formed her multicultural ensemble in order to realize her original compositions in which the mysticism of Persian melodies and poetry blend with Spanish flamenco, resulting in an 'innovative fusion with seductive sounds' as dubbed by the Smithsonian Institutes. Since then, the ensemble has grown organically along with the multicultural elements growing naturally into Roya’s compositions to include influences of jazz and tango traditions. Her ensemble includes master musicians in each of these traditions: flamenco guitarist Ricardo Marlow, jazz bass clarinetist Denis Malloy, Argentinean bandoneonist Emmanuel Trifilio, world percussionist Jon Seligman as well as flamenco dancer choreographer Anna Menendez. Roya Ensemble performance credits include: President Obama’s Inaugural celebratory concerts at the Smithsonian Institution, and various performances at GALA Theatre, The Mansion at Strathmore, Gettysburg World Heritage Festival, Shepherd University, Amnesty International’s Human Rights Arts Festival, Washington Folk Festival, University of Memphis, University of Maryland, University of Mary Washington, DC LIVE! Summer Series, Reston Multicultural Festival, DC Green Festival, American University, Towson University.
Born in Tehran in 1976, Ali Banisadr grew up during the Islamic revolution and the eight-year Iran-Iraq War. In 1988, he and his family left Iran, first for Turkey and then for California. In 2000, he moved to New York City, where he currently lives and works. He received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2005 and his MFA from the New York Academy of Art in 2007. Since his first solo exhibition in 2008, Banisadr has exhibited in the United States and abroad.
Banisadr’s works are in important public collections at venues including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), Museum der Moderne (Salzburg), and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Born in Tehran, Iran, multidisciplinary artist Bahar Behbahani now lives in Brooklyn, New York. She received her BA and MA in painting in Tehran. Her work has been featured at many events and venues, including the 18th Biennale of Sydney, Australia, the Sharjah Biennial 10, the Prologue Exhibition for the 2016 Honolulu Biennial, the Queens Museum, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, MACRO, Museum of Contemporary Art in Italy, Mimara Museum, the Tribeca Film Festival, and the Asia Art Biennial, among others.
Bahar works in painting, video, and participatory performance. Her work addresses her long-term conceptual dialogue with memory and loss, representing her chronic displacement and longing.
Mazzi is a part of a group called S.O.U.L. (Sense Of Understanding Life’s) Purpose.
The group is from Jersey City, New Jersey. Mazzi says that S.O.U.L. Purpose is "the biggest crew in Hip Hop for the simple fact that if you helped the music to prosper in any way, you are part of the S.O.U.L. Purpose collective."
Mazzi: "Whether you bought my CD/vinyl, came to any of my shows, made me a beat, engineered a session, collaborated with me, did cuts for me, gave me airtime, played my music on the radio, played my music in a club, put my music on a mixtape, interviewed me for a magazine/newsletter, gave me online promo and support, charted my music, put me on a bill to perform, promoted my shows, allowed me to rock venues, danced for me at shows, filmed at shows, took pics, passed out flyers for me, put up a poster for me, sponsored me in any way, lent me money to further my project, gave me words of encouragement, inspired me, fed me, drove me, or supported my music in any other possible aspect, you are a member of S.O.U.L. Purpose! I appreciate it."
Mazzi has done shows opened for/done shows with artists such as Eminem, G-Unit, Black Eyed Peas, Big Pun, RUN DMC, The Lox, Ludacris, Ghostface, D12, Mos Def, M.O.P., Capone, NORE, Xzibit, Common, Slick Rick, Flava Flav, Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, Jin, Keith Murray, Kool G. Rap, Cannibus, Nice & Smooth, The Beatnuts, Drez of Black Sheep, Gang Starr, Black Moon, Gza, Inspecta Deck, Masta Killa, Freddy Foxxx, O.G.C., Immortal Technique, Faith Evans, Jurrasic 5, Nina Skye, Angie Martinez, Erykah Badu, Big Daddy Kane, Rob Bass, Sean Price, Chino XL, Luv Bug Starski, Smiff ‘n Wesson, Dialated Peoples, Mums from Oz(HBO), Suheir Hamad & Lemon from Def Poetry Jam (HBO), Souls of Mischief, High & Mighty, L.A. Symphony, Doug E. Fresh, Soul Sonic Force, Aceyalone, Murs, Jean Grae, Cold Crush Brothers, Show Biz & A.G., The Arsonists, PumpkinHead, The Juuggaknots, C-Rayz Wallz, Last Emperor, Aesop Rock, Jedi Mind Tricks, Non Phixion, Necro, Super Natural, Swiss Chris, Brother Ali, Wordsworth, G.C. & Soul Mafia, Scram Jones, Agallah, Craig G., Meek Mill, 2 Chainz, Asher Roth, Vado, Gun Play, Stalley, Atmosphere, Blackalicious, and Rahzel.
San Francisco-based producer and long time dance music veteran, Behrouz Nazari is difficult to label as he reflects the music he creates and spins. "My sound is impossible to categorize, but if I were to give it my best shot, I would describe it as a myriad of different subgenres of music I have experimented with during my past 20 years of DJing. It’s mainly composed of sexy music incorporating the finer elements of my deep house roots, all the way to techno," Behrouz confesses. This being said, Behrouz has quickly become a highly respected DJ, recognized worldwide for his groundbreaking headlining sets at venues such as Pacha in Ibiza and NY, Space in Ibiza, Warung in Brazil, and Stereo in Montreal. Through his highly-acclaimed productions, CD compilations, and award nominations Behrouz has discovered the recipe to success that has allowed him to become a well-known name in the realm of superstar DJs.
Embarking on world tours and playing long sets eventually led to the creation of the Pure Behrouz concept that has taken Behrouz's signature sound to a new level. The whole meaning or direction of the Pure Behrouz night starts with Behrouz playing from open to close, taking his audience on that famous journey of different genres of music, which only a select few can dare to embark upon. As many can attest to, the Pure Behrouz nights have been compared to listening to four separate DJs playing in a club, all in one night. In this day and age where most DJs can play no more than a standard two hour set on their laptop, with Pure Behrouz, you get a pure journey of music, not on a laptop, but through love, vinyls that are handpicked by Behrouz himself, and upfront music that most likely you may never get the chance to hear from another DJ.
Step into the world of Behrouz!
Terrifying, disturbing, beautiful, bold, bizarre, hilarious, and totally unique. Those are just a few words to help describe the indescribable music/noise that haunts the tracks of Leila Bela's latest improv experiment "Angra Manyu." A project named after the realm of the gods, this album has the touch of a god, or goddess in Leila's case. It is, to say the least, a blend of other worldly experiences all rolled into one shockingly innovative explosion of emotion.
Shaghayegh Cyrous is a San Francisco-based interdisciplinary and social practice artist and activist. She was born in 1987 in Tehran, Iran and moved to San Francisco in 2012. She has widely exhibited and presented her work in different venues such as the British Museum in London, Tehran Contemporary Museum of Art, Minnesota Street Project, Alcatraz Island in San Francisco, the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, Open Engagement in Chicago, and Kulturcentrum Ronneby Konsthall in Sweden. Cyrous’s works deal with communication and translation caused by worldwide cultural and political circumstances. She uses interactive strategies such as participatory engagement projects, performances, video, installations, and video chats to create poetic spaces and opportunities for connections. She graduated with a Master of Fine Arts Social Practice from California College of the Arts.
For over 30 years guitarist, writer, engineer, mixer, producer, and programmer Amir Derakh has been known as one of the leading musical pioneers of the Los Angeles area. He was awarded the prestigious “Most Promising Guitarist” award by Gibson Guitars as a founding member, writer, and producer of the platinum selling band Orgy.
Amir is a fully qualified producer and engineer having earned his degree in Recording Engineering from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).
He is also responsible for the gold and platinum successes of many known artists such as the Eels (with whom he received an engineering Grammy nomination), Danzig, Coal Chamber, and most recently the eclectic Russian band Mumiy Troll.
To add to his many credits, Amir has also scored and created original music for many major motion pictures, video games, and television shows including Transformers, Underworld, Freaky Friday, Matt’s Chance, Beta Test, MTV, and the HBO series True Blood. He was also the guitar coach for Disney’s smash hit Freaky Friday, teaching Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis how to play guitar for their roles.
Amir’s recent personal projects as an artist include the indie-tronic band Julien-K (who’s last Indigogo campaign charted in the top 50 biggest music campaigns), Dead By Sunrise (featuring Chester Bennington of Linkin Park on vocals), and a reunited Rough Cutt.
Amir also runs a very successful electronic music label, Circuit Freq Records.
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.
Payam Doostzadeh is an American-born musician living in Los Angeles. He is the bassist and keyboardist for the alternative rock band Young The Giant. The members of the band are all sons of immigrants or immigrants themselves, having met during high school in Irvine, CA. His parents were able to leave Iran right before the revolution in order to attend university in the US. Having a strong foundation in piano as a child, Payam continued his musical pursuits with violin and eventually landed on string bass and bass guitar.
After getting accepted to UCSD for bioengineering in 2008, he and the rest of his band took a leave of absence from college in order to pursue the band full time in hopes of landing a record deal. One year later, they signed to a major record label and have released three full length studio albums to date. Their newest album, Home of the Strange, touches on the immigrants story in the bizarre modern version of the American Dream.
Ghasem Ebrahimian is an award-winning ﬁlmmaker who came to the U.S. in 1974 to study cinema. He graduated from SUNY Purchase in 1979. His thesis ﬁlm, Willie, earned him a student Academy Award and was shown in festivals around the world and on Public Television’s Independent Focus. Ghasem formed EbraFilms with Coleen Higgins in 1980, and the company has produced over forty documentaries for Italian and French television, among other commercial productions.
His feature ﬁlm The Suitors, which he wrote and directed, was an ofﬁcial selection for Cannes Film Festival in 1988 and was nominated for Camera d’OR.
In 1997, Ghasem began his collaboration with Shirin Neshat on a number of ﬁlmed video Installations as director of photography and co-writer. In addition to this collaboration, Ghasem has worked on a number of documentaries. He has been a visiting faculty member at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, teaching a course on directing.
Shirin Ehya is an Iranian-American designer who was raised between Iran and the States during their most turbulent period of relations. The pursuit to combine elements from both cultures influences her designs on a deep level.
From one side she is constantly drawn to understated simplicity, seen in the clean, spare shapes of her designs. The Persian elements blend subtly along the lines, in shimmering, intricate mirror work or delicate lattice patterns.
Shirin successfully launched her first collection, Isfahan during Design Days Dubai 2014. This collection was followed by other new collections and exhibitions around the world.
Ehya is currently based in California, where she also started an interior architecture and design firm. She is also working on a new furniture and accessories collection.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Milad Mozari is an interdisciplinary artist and educator whose work in video, performance, and sculpture moves through the complex role of mobile sites and their associated norms and behavior. While studying for his BS in International Studies at the University of Utah, he began to make and exhibit work about language and place. He continued his studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he received an MFA in the Department of Sound. He has presented works and lectures in the United States, Ireland, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea. His research-based practice often starts with sound experimentations, which then grow into larger transitory performances dealing with issues of socio-economic status, labor, and personal histories. He currently lives in Chicago where he teaches at SAIC in the Departments of AIADO and Sculpture.
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.
Roshan Houshmand is an American artist who was raised in Iran and the Philippines. Her BA is from Bennington College and her MA and MFA are from Dominican University’s Rosary College Graduate School of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy. Roshan’s work is exhibited and collected in Europe and the US. She has received grants from organizations including NYSCA, the Michelle MacNaught Foundation, the O'Connor Foundation, NYFA and the US Department of State Art in Embassies Program. In 2015, her work was presented at Italia Docet/Laboratorium, a collateral event of the 56th International Venice Biennale at Palazzo Barbarigo in Venice, Italy. Other major collective exhibitions include “Totem” at the Boca Raton Museum of Art in Florida and “Evolving Perceptions” at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Roshan lives in Andes, NY and teaches painting and art appreciation at SUNY Delhi, NY. She is very active in community arts projects with local schools.
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.
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.
"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."
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.
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.
Amir K has been entertaining audiences for nearly 10 years, performing live across the U.S. and on relevision. His fun, unique approach to storytelling brings audiences together through his improvisational talent, characters, and charisma. Born in Iran and raised in Southern California, Amir offers a unique point of view shaped by his multi-cultural upbringing.
Amir currently stars in the primetime CW reboot of MADtv and has been seen on Comedy Central, NBC's Last Comic Standing and MTV's Jerks with Cameras. Amir is best known for his stand-up comedy, but is also an accomplished actor. He won a SAG award for his role in the Oscar winning film Argo and recently starred in the FOX feature film The Pyramid opposite Denis O'Hare and Ashley Grace.
Amir can be seen live headlining comedy clubs and theaters all over the U.S. as well as internationally.
Pianist and composer Tara Kamangar has performed to capacity audiences in North America, Europe and the Middle East, in venues including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Walt Disney Hall and Cadogan Hall. Her orchestral engagements have included concertos of Beethoven, Grieg, Saint-Saëns, and Rachmaninoff as well as the American premieres of Aminollah Hossein's piano concertos.
As a composer, Tara's works are featured on the Delos/ Naxos and Evidence Classics/ Harmonia Mundi record labels. She has incorporated Kurdish folk music into her compositions, and composed for documentary.
An avid recording artist, Tara's solo album “East of Melancholy” reached the top twenty of the classical Billboard chart and streamed aboard Virgin America flights. It was reviewed as "an alluring compilation...rendered with passionate, soulful conviction" (New York Times), "exquisite" (NPR), and "intellectually and inspirationally, a captivating recital" (American Record Guide).
Tara is a co-founder of the urban-classical project Triptyq Sessions which debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes classical chart, with videos premiered by Billboard and Yahoo Music. She has also toured extensively as a violinist.
Tara is an honors graduate of Harvard (Social Anthropology) and London’s Royal Academy of Music (Piano Performance).
Soprano "in-excelsis" Delaram Kamareh "has a reputation for being fearless " (Grant Gershon). Her voice was recently described by the Chicago Tribune as having a "blindingly pure timbre" and climbing to "unearthly heights". A true coloratura, "silver throated" and "from somewhere in antiquity" stageandcinema, with "stupendously high notes and long leaps not heard since Yma Sumac," laopus, Delaram has quickly established herself as an outstanding young interpreter of contemporary classical music, with a "purity in her voice that is easy to enjoy, pin-point technique, and a remarkable range" Allisyar. Equally comfortable singing classically as she is combining her multi-cultural influences, this diversity in vocal technique, range and genres allows her to express that syncretic versatility which is much sought after in the contemporary music world.
Delaram has "excelled" latimes, in solo appearances with organizations such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic as Cornelia in the "triumphant reworking" latimes of Composer Lou Harrison's Young Caesar, and in Esa Pekka Salonen‘s Wing on Wing at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. She has performed works by Vivaldi and Porpora with Interpreti Veneziani, a chamber ensemble specializing in baroque repertoire for the 2017 Venice Biennale, with the Los Angeles Master Chorale in Tan Dun‘s Water Passion after St. Matthew under the baton of Maestro Grant Gershon at the Walt Disney Concert Hall and at Ravinia Festival in Chicago, with Grammy® award winning Southwest Chamber Orchestra where she sang a "veritable minefield of a soprano part" in Oliver Knussen‘s Hums and Songs of Winnie the Pooh at the Huntington Library, and a frequent performer with The Industry, Delaram has starred in the local Emmy award winning and pulitzer prize nominated KCET artbound‘s documentary about the world premiere of the acclaimed operatic adaptation of Italo Calvino‘s novel Invisible Cities, in collaboration with Benjamin Millepied‘s LA Dance project; the first opera of its kind utilizing wireless headphones, and set within the beautiful structure of the Los Angeles Union Station. She returned the following season as the protagonist in Hopscotch, a mobile opera in 24 limousines where she was hailed for her performance by The New Yorker magazine.
Born and raised in Tehran, Delaram was awarded a scholarship from the opera department at UCLA after moving to the United States. In addition to her contemporary music projects she has sung the more traditional roles of Blonde in Die Eintführung aus dem Serail, the title roles in both Lakmé and Doña Francisquita, and was a soloist in Bach‘s St. John Passion. Her voice can be heard on several motion picture soundtracks including Romeo and Juliet and Heaven is for real, in addition to Josh Groban‘s new single, Anthem. No stranger to performing, at age seven she was at ease in front of the camera in the conservative world of Iranian National Television, continuing her childhood career well into her teens. She last starred in a popular comedy directed by celebrated Iranian director, Marzieh Boroumand.
Delaram's upcoming engagements include returning to the Walt Disney Concert Hall the following season to create the role of La Sirena in Yuval Sharon's production of War of the Worlds by Annie Gosfield with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, performing works from the baroque era with Interpreti Veneziani in Venice Italy, debuting with Opera Omaha, and appearing as Hermione in composer Pauline Oliveros' Nubian Word for Flowers at Roulette in Brooklyn, NY.
A voice from the east with beautiful command over a western art form: ―Delaram Kamareh. "Remember that name...one to keep your eyes and ears on in the coming years." Allisyar
- Born in Tehran, Iran in 1947.
- Left in 1965 for a 7-year stay in Jerusalem.
- Has lived the USA since 1973, in N. California from 1982 to present.
- Began writing poems in 1989
- Received an Artist Grant from the Peninsula Community Foundation (2001) to publish a collection of her poetry, "Hummingbird Conditions", in a letterpress limited edition, to be used as sample books to teach a series of workshops on poetry and handmade bookmaking to children in the Ecumenical Hunger Project’s summer program in E. Palo Alto.
- Received a grant from the Clay and Glass Arts Foundation (2003) for her project, "Personal Narratives in Poetry and Clay", a series of workshops for children in the Boys and Girls Club in E. Palo Alto.
- US Readings: Numerous venues in the San Francisco Bay Area - Washington DC.
- International Readings: London, England - Penrith, England - St Andrews, Scotland.
PUBLICATIONS BY ESTHER KAMKAR
- Book "Hum of Bees"
2011, published by Ziba Press, printed by Blurb and available here.
- Book "Hummingbird Conditions"
2002, Ziba Press, Peter Koch Letterpress Printing Studios. Also printed by Tollbooth Press, in photocopied form.
- Chapbook "A Leopard in My Pocket" 1998.
Published in many literary journals, Esther Kamkar's poetry has also been anthologized in The Forbidden: Poems from Iran and its Exiles and Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora.
- Bellowing Ark, Shoreline, Washington
- The Monserrat Review, San Jose, California
- The Sandhill Review, Stanford, California
- Present Time, Seattle, Washigton
- Department of Justice, Corrections Academy Curriculum
and many others.
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.
Called "...one of the wonders of world trance music" by the Los Angeles Times, Mamak Khadem captivates audiences by blending her roots in the ancient poetry and music of the Persian masters with a bold and revolutionary new sound. By nature, she is a nomad, one who thrives on open spaces. By occupation, she is a bridge, one that connects geography to lore. In music, she is open to cultural influences, but she has chosen the classical Persian style as her base. Formerly of the sensational cross-cultural fusion ensemble Axiom of Choice, Mamak weaves a canopy, both simple and rich, for a stunningly emotional and spiritual musical experience that inspires new listeners to embrace cultural diversity and an awareness and appreciation of Persian arts and culture through a blending of old and new.
The Road, Mamak's newest project, continues a journey started with her celebrated first solo album Jostojoo. Following her passion for new influences, Mamak has crossed borders from various regions in Iran to Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Morocco, and Indonesia. Searching for common threads and powerful traditional melodies remains a driving force behind her music, and she uses elements from her Iranian heritage (such as the poetry of Rumi) to re-imagine a song from other cultures, times, and places. The freedom of her musical expression is intoxicating.
Mamak Khadem was born in Iran at a time when tides were changing. She was part of the Children's Choir for the National Radio and Television of Iran, but it wasn't until after the Iranian Revolution that her passion for singing waxed. Inspired by works of master musicians, she seized every opportunity to further her vocal art, regularly traveling back to Iran to study with some of the finest Persian vocalists and masters. She also benefited from the study of classical Indian singing tradition at the Ali Akbar Khan College of Music in Northern California and fromsinging with the Los Angeles based Balkan choir Nevenka.
Sameh Khalatbari is a San Francisco-based artist and illustrator, born in Tehran, Iran. She graduated form the University of Tehran with a Masters of Fine Art Magna Cum Laude degree. She has exhibited her work internationally in Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, Italy, and throughout California, including Los Angeles and San Francisco. In 2013 she was granted a genius visa from the United States government and for residence in California. Sameh is a contemporary surrealist painter and reveals her life experience and thoughts through familiar Persian symbols and aesthetically composed conceptually layered artworks. Traditional Islamic symmetrical painting (which she has made and studied extensively) has influenced her art works with symbols both prominently featured and subtlety revealed. Sameh is also a children's book illustrator. She is experienced in a wide variety of illustration styles and she published her first book, The Wisdom of the Yaqui the Bear, in 2015.
Amir Bahador Kharazmi, better known by his stage name Bahador Kharazmi, is an Iranian singer-songwriter and producers who started his career as an underground music producer after the Iranian Revolution (in which music was pronounced Haram and all forms of popular music were banned). In 2003 his single the cover of an old Persian song, Too In Zamoone (Vay Vay), which was unofficially released on his weblog was well-received among the Persian community and became a successful release for him and earned him a record deal with a major label in the United States, Avang Music. The album was internationally published and released in 2004. Since the late 1990s, Bahador has become one of the major contributors to forming the underground music movement in Iran.
Born in Tehran, Iran, Khorramian lives and works in upstate New York. She studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and received her undergraduate degree at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. She earned her MFA at Columbia University in New York. Khorramian has exhibited internationally, participating in shows at MASS MOCA, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Art Basel Statements in Switzerland, Ballroom Marfa in Texas, the Istanbul Museum of Art, the Sundance Film festival, the Midnight Moment in Times Square and the Queensland Art Gallery in Australia. In 2013, she published her first limited edition artist book, Include Amplified Toilet Water.
Amy Khoshbin is an Iranian-American, Brooklyn-based artist merging performance, video, collage, costume and sound to examine our individual and collective compulsion to create, transform, and sometimes destroy the stories of who we are, who we think we are, and who we think we should be. She produces media and mythologies using humor and a handmade aesthetic to throw a counterpunch at the high-definition, profit-generating codes and signals that American audiences are trained and accustomed to consuming. She has shown her solo and collaborative work at venues such as Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Abrons Arts Center, Mana Contemporary, NURTUREart, National Sawdust, the Invisible Dog Arts Center, Dixon Place, the Stone, and festivals such as River to River, South by Southwest, and MakerFaire. She has received a Rema Hort Mann Artist Community Engagement Grant and is on Creative Capital's On Our Radar for her recent project, The Myth of Layla. Khoshbin has degrees in Film and Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and a master's degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University. She has collaborated with Laurie Anderson, Karen Finley, Tina Barney, and poets Anne Carson and Bob Currie, among others.
Gelare Khoshgozaran is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and translator working across the mediums of video, performance, installation, and writing. Born and raised in Tehran and living in Los Angeles, she envisions the city as an imaginary space between asylum as “the protection granted by a nation to someone who has left their native country as a political refugee” and the more dated meaning of the word, “an institution offering shelter and support to people who are mentally ill.” Gelare is the recipient of the 2015 California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artists, the 2015 Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant, and the 2016 Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant. She is the co-founder of contemptorary.
Farid Kia was born in Iran and moved to Los Angeles at the age of 12. He earned his degree in the field of Architectural Engineering from the University of Southern California. He currently resides and works in Venice, CA.
Farid Kia's passion for painting developed from a desire to immerse himself in the creative process through an abstract language. Lacking formal training in the fine arts, he began learning the language color by color, stroke by stroke, through extensive experimentation. His early works, primarily small scale portraits, were serendipitous expressions that emerged from thick layers of paint via rapid strokes of a knife. Kia's later art, comprised of larger scale portraits, became more intentional and controlled, more intensely focused on conveying the emotion lurking deep beneath the subject's surface expression.
K-von is a headlining comedian on the rise. The star of MTV's hit show "Disaster Date," he's also received rave reviews on NBC's "Last Comic Standing," SHOWTIME, CNN's "HLN," Good Morning America, BBC, and NPR to name a few. K-von recently anchored the hip news show "Top 30" on FOX and completed a much-loved TEDtalk which has gone viral online.
K-von's standup comedy career has taken him around the world several times performing in comedy clubs and theaters, as well as for colleges and large non-profit organizations. His style is versatile yet relatable with fun storytelling and high-energy performances about a variety of mainstream topics.
K-von is most excited about the project he recently completed. As writer/director of "NOWRUZ: Lost & Found," he invites you on a comedic Journey into the Persian New Year. In this 90-minute award winning documentary film, he hilariously retraces roots he never knew and discovers the dancing, food, clothing, and traditions involved in the Persian New Year.
Nazafarin Lotfi is a visual artist based in Chicago. She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011 and her BA from the University of Tehran in 2007. Lotfi uses mundane materials and objects that are extracted from daily life to make work that questions the individual’s relationship to objects and places that alternate between familiarity and alterity. Solo exhibitions include Poiesis at Fernwey Gallery (Chicago), White Light at Andrew Rafacz Gallery (Chicago), Love at Last Sight at Brand New Gallery (Milan), and Circles at Tony Wight Gallery (Chicago). Recent group exhibitions include This here at Regards Gallery, the Particular Poetics of Things at Goldfinch Gallery, Resonant Objects at Logan Center Exhibitions, and Pattern Recognition at Ana Cristea Gallery. Lotfi was the Artist in Residence at the University of Chicago’s Arts and Public Life Program during 2015-16.
Sara Madandar is a US-based artist from Iran. She received her MFA from the University of Texas at Austin and her BA in painting from Art and Architecture Azad University of Tehran. She currently works in painting, sculpture, video, and performance. Her work is often about the relationship of humans to their bodies and covers. Her most recent accolade was an award from the Texas Visual Artists Association (TVAA) in their 2016 exhibition in Dallas. Sara’s work has been featured in three solo shows in Austin, at venues such as Co-Lab, Mom Gallery, and Courtyard Gallery. Some of her work was also featured in Austin City Hall as part of the 2016 People’s Gallery.
Justin Mashouf is a four-time Emmy winning filmmaker and artist living in Los Angeles, California. His 2008 feature documentary "Warring Factions" focuses on his journey to Iran to find break dancers and bridge the political rift between the US and Iran with hip hop and traditional Persian martial arts. The film has received over 20,000 digital downloads internationally and was nominated for Best Documentary and Best Original Story at the 2008 Noor Film Festival. Justin’s work editing specials for local Los Angeles news station KTLA 5 has earned him 4 Los Angeles Emmy Awards, a Golden Mic Award, and the Southern California Journalism Award.
Justin’s 2011 short, Spring Movements, is a dance film dedicated to the “Arab Spring” uprisings throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Spring Movements has had multiple international television broadcasts on the Al-Jazeera English program “Frames.” Justin's 2017 feature documentary The Honest Struggle is the story of a Muslim convert ex-offender and his journey re-entering society in Chicago after being incarcerated for over 25 years.
Sanaz Mazinani is a contemporary artist who works primarily in photography, large-scale sculpture, and installations. Sanaz obtained her undergraduate degree in photography from the Ontario College of Art & Design. She received an MFA from Stanford University, where her research focused on the study of digital photographic propagation and its impact on representation and perception.
Mazinani has participated in worldwide exhibitions at venues including the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Emirates Financial Towers, Fotografie Forum, and Museum Bärengasse. She has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and the West Vancouver Museum. Sanaz's work is in private and public collections at the Canada Council Art Bank, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the San Francisco International Airport.
Mazinani’s artwork has been written about in Artforum, artnet News, Border Crossings, Canadian Art, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Washington Post, among other publications. She has recently received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the San Francisco Arts Commission, and the D.C. Commission on the Arts & Humanities.
Cyrus McGoldrick is a Muslim artist and educator, born in the USA of Iranian and Irish descent.
He graduated with a B.A. in Middle Eastern, South Asian, & African Studies from Columbia University in 2010, and has worked for a number of Islamic social and human rights organizations, including the New York chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms, the Majlis ash-Shura of Metropolitan New York, and the Youth Coalition of South Florida. He was a co-founder of the Islamic Movement for Justice, serves on advisory councils for Turning Point for Women and Families and Getting Out & Staying Out, and frequently lectures and performs original poetry and songs across the country. His debut book of poetry, I of the Garden, was published in 2014.
Cyrus is now pursuing a M.A. in Civilization Studies at Ibn Haldun University's Alliance of Civilizations Institute in Istanbul.
Sara Meghdari was born and raised in the Islamic Republic by an American mother and an Iranian father. At the age of 17, she moved to the United States, along with her brother and sister, to pursue higher education. In 2016, Sara received her Master's in Fine Arts Photography and Video from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She is currently based in Brooklyn. Her work ranges in media, from photography and video to installation and social practice. Meghdari is driven by her bicultural background as an Iranian-American and her experience of living in a constant state of displacement. She says her work "is a reflection of culture as well as the self, creating a narrative by pursuing connection in an attempt to inspire social change.”
Laleh Mehran was born in Iran and relocated with her family to the United States at the start of the Iranian Islamic Revolution. For nearly 20 years, Mehran has been creating elaborate environments in digital and physical spaces. She is inspired by both Eastern and Western philosophical understandings and aesthetic sensibilities, where art and design are merged with digital technologies and physical materials. Focused on multifaceted intersections between politics, religion, and science in an era in which some speech is increasingly
censored (often with the most extreme consequences for the speaker), Mehran strives to call attention to the implicit connections between politics, religion, and science while raising the question of the viewer's relation to each of these fundamental systems. As a result, Mehran's artworks are a hybrid that acknowledges the distinct elements, creating an interplay of the philosophical as well as the digital to construct new spaces for critical thought, dialogue, and aesthetics.
Leila Mesdaghi is an Iranian-American artist living in Fort Myers, Florida. She holds a BA in Law from Tehran-Shomal Azad University, Iran, and a BA in Arts from Florida Gulf Coast University. To her, making art is a combination of emotional experiences and social responsibilities. Mesdaghi seeks to connect with viewers in a visceral, evocative, emotional manner. She stands on uncomfortable grounds and touches on social and political issues like war in the Middle East, the negative reflections of social media in society, the housing crisis in the U.S, and the price and promise of progress. In addition to years of traditional painting, Leila has explored disciplines and mediums such as sculpture, printmaking, and installation. In her most recent works, she has been merging performance with video and photography, exploring the spaces between presence and absence.
Golié Miamee is an American born, Iranian-American artist. For Golie, art has always been a passion and her primary form of expression. Born in Michigan, her travel adventure started when she was just one month old with a trip to Iran where she spent the first 10 years of her life (and where she discovered her interest in art at the age of 8). Golié is now a world traveler who loves to photograph and capture her journeys. With a background in computer science, graphic design, and visual arts, Golie switched her focus to photography ten years ago.
Golié considers herself a visual artist rather than a traditional photographer. She uses a photograph as her canvas and digital editing as her main medium. Golié strives to let her audience see the world as she sees it through her lens, where every photo becomes a timeless capture of that specific scene. Her love of photography and her passion have together allowed Golié to capture memorable moments of nature, people, places, art, culture, and much more. Golié sees every photograph as an image that can come to life, and she hopes that each one gives her viewers the same bliss and enjoyment that she finds. She ventures to expand her work by visiting more destinations around the world while developing new media techniques.
Hannah Moghbel grew up as a German-Iranian immigrant in the Appalachian mountains of Pennsylvania. She earned her B.A. in Art Education from Shepherd University in 2007. Her work explores themes of lust and feminine identity through large scale representational paintings. She currently lives and works in Colorado Springs, CO.
Iranian guitarist and composer, Behdad Moghaddasi, is the former chair of the guitar program at Theran Azad University, before immigrating the United States in 2000. Mr. Moghaddasi is the first Iranian solo guitarist to ever step on stage with Iranian Symphony Orchestras to perform Concerto de Aranjuez. He has also performed several solo concerts throughout the United States, Canada, Germany, and England.
Mr. Moghaddasi has been hailed as an innovator when it comes to composing music for classical guitar. His music embodies multiple facets of style:
70's Rock Music: Based upon his passion and personal interpretation of the great rock era, Mr. Moghaddasi draws upon this style in pieces such as Far Wishes, from the CD "Persian Suite".
Iranian Folk Music: As seen in works such as Dena and Kouchalar.
Iranian Traditional and Ethnic Fusion Music: Traditional and individual ethnic elements are infused into Mr. Moghaddasi's interpretation. The tastes, sounds, and colors of Iran are showcased in this classical guitar forum, Persian Suite.
Many of Mr. Moghaddasi's work cannot be placed into a category of style. As seen in Trilogy for Guitar, he gives us a taste of unchartered territory which has seemingly never been done before. In all of his works, Mr. Moghaddasi never seeks to replicate previous compositions, a common cliché amongst composers. He draws his inspiration through the perspective of the guitar, and never attempts to deliberately combine Eastern and Western music.
Pooya Mohseni is an Iranian-American actor, Transgender advocate, writer, and storyteller.
Pooya moved to the States in the late 90s to find her life, as a Transgender woman and as a person. She and her mother moved from Iran so she could start her transition. The journey has not always been easy, but Pooya tries to draw on her experiences to share a message of compassion, strength, and hope.
You can find her essay “I Was Born a Girl in a Boy’s Body” on Medium. Two of her essays, “The Privilege of Passing” and "Trick or Trans?" are featured on Stage & Candor.
Pooya just made her debut at the new Baltimore Center Stage Theatre in their winter 2017 production of "White Snake," directed by Natsu Onoda Power. Her recent performances include a role as Madame in The OUTLIERS’ NYC production of "The Maids" and another as Bernice in a reading of “Man in Love." She also played the title role in "Death of a Persian Prince" at NYMITF & SAIPAF.
Pooya has guest starred on the USA network drama Falling Water, on CBS's Madam Secretary, and in Day 39, directed by Jesse Gustafson.
If you'd like to stay in touch with Pooya, please follow @Pooyaland on Twitter and Instagram.
Momeni was born in Isfahan, Iran and emigrated to the United States at the age of twelve. He studied Physics and Music at Swarthmore College and completed his doctoral degree in Music Composition, Improvisation, and Performance with Computers from the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies at UC Berkeley. He spent three years in Paris, where he collaborated with performers and researchers from La Kitchen, IRCAM, Sony CSL, and CIRM. Between 2007 and 2011, Momeni was an assistant professor in the department of art at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, where he directed the Spark Festival of Electronic Music and Art and founded the MAW, an urban projection collective. Momeni is currently an associate professor in the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University, where he directs CMU ArtFab.
Momeni’s current research interests include performative application of robotics, playful urban interventions, interactive projection performance, machine learning for artists and designers, interactive tools for storytelling and experiential learning, mobile and hybrid musical instruments, and the intersection of sound, music, and health.
Soudabeh Moradian was born in Tehran, Iran and graduated from the Tehran University of Art (School of Cinema & Theater) in 1996. She also received an MFA degree in Film and Video from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in 2015.
Soudabeh started her career in film-making, screenwriting, and editing in 1996. She has made many TV documentary series about Iranian rural women, and some independent documentaries about “war and madness" such as "Doomsday Machine," "Story Of The Land On Ashes," "Mahin," "Voices Against Them," and other narrative and documentary films like "The Leader of Caravan," "My Name Is Tomorrow," and "Les Chroniques d'iran." The subjects of her movies are mostly women, social issues, and the psychological impacts of war. A number of her movies have been in official selection at various international film festivals, and many have won awards.
Soudabeh immigrated to the United States in 2009 and continued her career as an Iranian-American filmmaker in the US. She made her first narrative feature length drama, Polaris, in 2015.
Neda Moridpour is a socially engaged feminist artist, advocate, educator, and co-founder of the two artist-activist collaboratives, [P]Art Collective (with Pouya Afshar) and 'LOUDER THAN WORDS' (with S.A. Bachman).
Moridpour approaches art as a social practice that crosses disciplines and boundaries in order to explore social issues and urban realities, to establish dialogue, and to mobilize communities. Her art transforms the seemingly quotidian and mundane via bold round-table talks, visual and performative interventions, prints and lens-based practices.
Born and raised in Iran, a strong awareness of gender discrimination, inequality, and censorship permeates her philosophy. She is a MFA graduate from the Public Practice Program, founded by Suzanne Lacy, at Otis College of Art and Design. Moridpour's work has been exhibited in the United States, Iran, and China. Her collaboration with A Window Between Worlds titled “I CAN WE CAN” engaged more than 20,000 participants globally and was exhibited at the Gallery Neuartig. In 2014, her work with LOUDER THAN WORDS examining domestic violence and sexual assault was honored by the Women’s Caucus for Art, and she is a 2014 award recipient from the Center for Cultural Innovation.
Hushidar Mortezaie was born in Tehran and immigrated to the Bay Area in 1975. He moved to NYC in 1994, living there for 10 years. He now resides in California, living between Los Angeles and the Bay Area.
Mortezaie’s discourse is a mixed media of collage, painting, illustration, installation art, and primarily fashion, which together fabricates a head to toe cultural critique that negates and celebrates branding along with the satire of pop culture and mass consumption.
During the nineties, Mortezaie’s role as a buyer/curator for Patricia Field helped lead to the Rave and Japanese Anime phenomenon in the U.S, with its Hello Kitty repercussions and virtual anime effects
that reverberate today. Hushidar's collaboration with Michael Sears in their NY boutique gallery, Sears and Robot, was a pop pun on American commercial retail corporations that translated popular culture into pop couture fashion and art. These works spanned from a Ronald McDonald pastiche worn by supermodel Linda Evangelista (in Italian Vogue) to Iranian slogan and Persian minaiture handpainted high fashion worn by Sarah Jessica Parker (in Sex and the City) to collage print tops on Brad Pitt (in the motion picture Fight Club). Singers like Madonna, Britney Spears, and Beyonce transferred Hushidar's visual messages to the masses.
Hushidar’s work prompted the rise of Iranian calligraphy on textiles and Middle Eastern style in global fashion through his pioneer celebration of his heritage at a time when most hid their identity in a post 9/11 world filled with prejudice. Selections of his work include “Welcome” at the Kashya Hildebrand Gallery in NYC and a multi-media study of style as empowerment among Iranian youth titled “75%” for Bidoun magazine. His homage to those children of the Iranian Renaissance, a chic boutique at LA’s Morono Kiang Gallery, resulted in an interview with Madeleine Brand on “All Things Considered” while the treasure trove of his father’s collection of periodicals and books from the Iranian students’ movements inspired his installation “Dozd Baazaar," a commentary on Orientalism, revolution, and the artifice of capitalism at Southern Exposure SF as apart of the ongoing Fabrications Bazaar group show in 2014. Hushidar's Persian Pop gown and matching accessories were commissioned for the traveling Vinyl Icons exhibit in the UK, celebrating the musical and design innovators of the pre-Revolution 60s and 70s culture of Iran. His focus in defying convention through the use of stereotype as armor, ornamentation, and packaging are constants that have evolved but are mainstays in his representational and decorative conceptual art.
Sahba Motallebi is a modern virtuoso of the tar and setar, an innovator in teaching Persian music. She has been recognized as the Best Tar Player at the Iranian Music Festival four years running, from 1995 to 1998. She was also awarded Best Tar Player at the Tehran Conservatory, Iran, for four years (from 1993 to 1996).
Music of Persia - Traditional Meets Contemporary
Sahba Motallebi is recognized internationally as a modern virtuoso of the tar and setar, two lute-like stringed instruments central to one of the world’s great musical traditions. She began studying music as a young girl in Sari, Northern Iran.
In 1993, at age 14, her talent garnered an invitation to study at the Tehran Conservatory of Music. She flourished, and was recognized as Best Tar Player at the Iranian Music Festival four years running (1995-1998). After graduating from the Conservatory in 1997, she co-founded the groundbreaking women’s music ensemble Chakaveh. In 1999 she joined the Iranian National Orchestra, beginning her career as an international performer. She left Iran in 2003 to pursue graduate studies, which were closed to her in her home country due to her Bahai’i faith.
For the past decade, Sahba has lived near Los Angeles, continuing to perform worldwide while releasing a series of noted books and ten recordings. She is recognized as an innovator in the teaching of Persian music. Her pioneering efforts putting instructional materials on the Internet and teaching students online have inspired something of a renaissance in the transmission of this ancient art form, reflecting her commitment to bringing music to the world.
For Sahba Motallebi Performance & Educational Workshop Bookings, contact Craig S. Hyman - Numinous Music @ email@example.com.
Photograph © Jack Vartoogian/Front Row Photos.
Amitis Motevalli was born in Iran and moved to the US in 1977, pre-revolution. She explores the cultural resistance and survival of people living in poverty, conflict, and war. Her experience as a working-class immigrant in Los Angeles is foundational to her drive for creating art that contests stereotypical beliefs about people living in diaspora. Through many mediums including sculpture, video, performance, and collaborative public art, her work juxtaposes iconography to reveal differences in cross-cultural understandings.
For her current project, Motevalli is working internationally with a diverse group of transnational Muslims in order to research the kinds of labor that people (across boundaries of class) endure to survive in everyday life. Amitis is particularly concerned with conducting workshops with Muslims who come from places of political and religious conflict and collaborating on public art projects with these individuals. She is invested in research, collaboration, and the potential of art to expand thought. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles, exhibiting art internationally as well as organizing to create an active and resistant cultural discourse through information exchange.
Amir Motlagh strives for an increasingly interdisciplinary approach at creating media and telling stories. He is a filmmaker by trade and practice, having written and directed over 15 narrative and non fiction projects that have screened all over the world, and experienced every form of distribution with.
He’s also experienced first hand the power of the internet when one of this early DIY short films spread virally before the term was popularized.
He received a BA in Psychology from UCLA, and an MFA in Production with an emphasis in Directing at Chapman University. He also spent time at the Stella Adler Academy in Hollywood.
He leads a lean media labs startup, ANIMALS, that creates content for motion pictures, television, the web, and the future (VR), with an emphasis on creativity and distinctiveness.
At the intersection of non-fiction filmmaking and experimental media art practices, Mozaffari's main interest is in creating poetic narratives that are candid and intimate portrayals of real-life subjects and experiences. She has exhibited widely in the U.S. and abroad, including Paris, Berlin, Madrid, Australia, Canada, Tehran, Poland, San Francisco, Switzerland, Sweden, Berlin, Norway, and New York. Originally from Tehran, Iran, Mozaffari received a Bachelor of Arts from San Francisco State University and a Master of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Muhammad Seven (Nima Samimi) is a singer-songwriter born and raised in Boston, MA. His narrative lyricism pays as much homage to Hafiz and Saadi as it does to Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, with deeply personal and political statements nestled amongst metaphors and vivid specificity. You might also listen carefully for the unmistakable influence of ‘90’s era hip-hop.