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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Pantea Karimi has lived, studied, and worked in Iran, the UK and the US and presently resides in San Jose, California. Her work is an exploration into the pages of medieval and early modern scientific manuscripts, particularly, Persian, Arab and European and the longue durée (long term) exchange of scientific knowledge across these cultures. In particular, she researches visual representations in medieval mathematics, medicinal botany, anatomy, optics and cartography. In her research project, Karimi examines how illustrations in ancient scientific manuscripts played a role in communicating knowledge and how the broader aesthetic considerations of science were closely related to art. Her works collectively highlight the significance of visual elements in early science and invite the viewer to observe science and its history through the process of image-making. Karimi uses installations, works on paper, Virtual Reality and video projections to create a novel and dynamic visual interpretation of the scientific concepts and ideas presented in the manuscripts.
Pantea Karimi has given lectures and artist talks in museums and universities including The LASER (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous) series in the San Francisco Bay Area and has exhibited her works in diverse solo, group and traveling exhibitions in Iran, Algeria, Germany, Croatia, Mexico, the UK, and the United States. Her works are in private and public collections and have been featured in several publications in Iran, Italy, Croatia, the UK and the United States.
- 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.
Tara Khozein is a classical singer and theater maker, investigating the kaleidoscopic combinations of music and theater. She holds a BM in classical vocal performance from NMSU; an Artist Diploma in physical theatre from École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris, France; and has studied singing privately France, Germany, Italy and in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
At Lecoq, Tara studied applied movement, improvisation, acrobatics, and collaborative (devised) creation in styles including mime, melodrama, full and half-mask, tragedy, buffoon, and clown. She also became interested in the vocalese style of jazz singing and made her living as a singer in clubs, bars, and restaurants around the Paris. She also established a vocal studio of over 30 students.
Tara moved to Santa Fe in 2014 to continue her study of classical singing and be part of the high desert's immersive art movement. She now performs and creates new work with a variety of artists and arts organizations including Theater Grottesco, Meow Wolf, and Strangers Collective. She also teaches theater to children and teens at Santa Fe Performing Arts.
Tara aims to raise the level of theater in the classical music world, create opportunities to perform contemporary classical music, devise new works of music-theater, and foster an audience that is diverse in every way. She believes that if a performer infuses their work with a magical combination of humanity and humor, and tempers craftsmanship with exquisite folly, they can touch the hearts of any audience.
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.
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
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.
Maryam Kashani is an Assistant Professor in Gender and Women’s Studies and Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. A filmmaker and anthropologist, her research is concerned with the lived experience of Muslims in the United States through the lenses of epistemology, gender, race, visual culture, and political economy. Her book project is based on ethnographic research and film-making conducted amongst Muslim communities in the greater San Francisco Bay Area and at a Muslim liberal arts college in Berkeley, California. The related film works, Our Look Was As If Two Lovers Or Deadly Enemies and Signs of Remarkable History premiered at the Sharjah Biennial in the United Arab Emirates in March 2015. Her films and videos have been shown at film festivals, universities, and museums internationally and include “things lovely and dangerous still” (2003), Best in the West (2006), and “las callecitas y la cañada” (2009).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Arghavan Khosravi was raised in Tehran, Iran. She graduated from Islamic Azad University with a Bachelor of Graphic Design and completed an MFA in illustration at the University of Tehran. After practicing in both fields for nearly a decade, she came to the U.S. to pursue her life-long dream of becoming a painter. She enrolled at Rhode Island School of Design after completing a post-baccalaureate program in studio art at Brandeis University. Khosravi’s vibrant works on paper probe both personal and political experiences by integrating historical Persian motifs from her native Iran with imagery taken from popular culture and contemporary media. As a reaction to the U.S. President’s Muslim travel ban, she began working on a series of paintings that incorporate her Iranian passport as their foundation, replete with situations, objects and characters that demand a narrative only the viewer can provide.
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.
Leila Mesdaghi is an Iranian-American Artist living in Fort Myers, Florida. She holds a Bachelors in Law from Islamic Azad University of Tehran, Iran, and a Bachelors 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, and 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photograph © Jack Vartoogian/Front Row Photos.
Arian Moayed is an Iranian-born American actor and theater producer. Moayed received a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Play in 2011 for his performance as Musa in Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.
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.
Krista Nassi is best known for her installations and paintings. Her paintings are evocative with an impressionistic approach, truly reflecting the character and sensitivity of the artist. The wrenching subjects of her installations are thought-provoking while reflecting the issues of modern times.
Krista is a Persian-American artist who was born in 1970 in Tehran, Iran. Her work can be found at Tehran’s Museum of Modern Arts, as well as a selected number of galleries throughout Europe. After graduating from high school, Krista entered Tehran’s Institute for Graphic Design and Architecture, where she received a diploma in graphic design. She later received a Master of Art degree in painting from the prestigious University of Art, Tehran. Krista has participated in arts exhibitions in Italy, France, Austria, Bangladesh, Singapore, and Iran.
Today, Krista resides in Los Angeles where she is pursing her love of the arts. She continues to create work that is unique in style and reflective of the modern times. She has shown her art in California since 2005.
Aphrodite Désirée Navab is an artist and writer based in New York City of Iranian and Greek descent (b. Isfahan, Iran). In 2004 she completed an Ed.D doctorate in Art Education at Columbia University. She received her BA magna cum laude in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard College in 1993. Her doctoral dissertation, “Unsaying Life Stories: A Comparative Analysis of the Autobiographical Art of Four Iranians,” is the first study specifically focused on the work of artists of the Iranian diaspora.
Ava Nazar is a New York based pianist. Born in Iran, she has had numerous performances as soloist and chamber musician in her home country and across the United States in venues such as Merkin Hall at Lincoln Center, the Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, the Stony Brook University, the Cell Theatre, LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, the Aspen Music Festival, La Peña Cultural Center in San Francisco, and Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in Alabama. She has been featured at Académies Internationales d'été du Grand Nancy in France, has received scholarship to study at the Aspen Music Festival, and will be a fellow at the Music Academy of the West this summer.
Ava is a prizewinner of several competitions in Iran including the National Youth Music Festival, the Fajr International Music Festival, the Nationwide Festival of Music Academies, the Music Festival for University Students and the Biennial Piano Competition of New Music. She has released a CD, Memoires from the conservatory, in Iran, which includes recordings of works by Oskar Rieding and Ferdinand Küchler for Violin and Piano.
Ava received her Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance from the Manhattan School of Music, where she worked with Donn-Alexandre Feder, and received her Master’s degree in Collaborative Piano from the Juilliard School as a recipient of the Betty & Daniel Bloomfield scholarship, and the David Garvey & Shendell Scholarship under the guidance of Jonathan Feldman, Margo Garrett, Andrew Harley, and Cameron Stowe. She has also had the privilege of working with many distinguished artists including Henri Barda, Jeffrey Cohen, Roger Vignoles, Rita Sloan, Anne Epperson, James Alexander, J.J. Penna, Diane Richardson, Franz Helmerson, and David Finckel.
Ava currently serves as a staff accompanist at the Juilliard School. In addition, she is a volunteer at the Sing for Hope, an NYC-based and artist-powered non-profit organization which brings art to communities in need.
Fatemeh Rezaeefar is a painter and miniaturist who was born in Tehran, Iran and immigrated to California in 2012. She graduated in Traditional Persian Art from the University of Iran at Alborz. Fatemeh has collaborated with famous artists like Tahmasebi and Abassi, and her specialties are pottery painting and Persian miniatures. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and alternative spaces in Iran, including the International Fajr Exhibition in 2011.
Nahid Navab is an Iranian-American artist based in Fairfax, VA. Born and raised in Iran, she moved to the United States in her early thirties. She served in the medical profession for some years before she found her passion for art. For Nahid, art became a means of communication, a bridge to reach others and for others to connect to her. In each of Nahid's paintings and handprints there exist expressive, colorful stories that grow out of Nahid's cross-cultural experiences. As a seasoned world traveler and an individual profoundly influenced by Persian history and literature, Navhid skillfully blends cultures from across the globe to create artwork infused with a synthesis of heritage and contemporary urban life. Navab’s works represent her belief that art is a conduit for social change.
Born in Iran in 1962, Yari Ostovany moved to the United States at the age of 16 and pursued his studies in art first at the University of Nevada, Reno and then at the San Francisco Art Institute (where he received his MFA in 1995). He was based in Cologne from 2000 to 2004, and since 2011 has been residing in the San Francisco Bay Area. Ostovany has exhibited extensively in the United States and internationally, and is the recipient of the Sierra Arts Endowment Grant, the Craig Sheppard Memorial Grant, and the Sierra Nevada Arts Foundation Grant. Recent solo exhibitions include Stanford Art Spaces at Stanford University, Vorres Gallery in San Francisco, and Aria Gallery in Tehran, Iran.
His work is in the permanent collections of institutions including the New Britain Museum of American Art in New Britain, Connecticut, Pasargad Bank Museum in Tehran, Iran, and the University of Nevada, Reno Art Department. Yari is represented by the Foundation Behram Bakhtiar in France, Artscoops in Lebanon, Gregory Mansfield Artist's Agency in Chicago, braveARTconsulting in Santa Fe, and Art Represent, Emergeast, and Ideal Art in London.
Yari Ostovany currently lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Charlotte Noruzi is a multi-disciplinary artist working in both two and three dimensions. Her work covers diverse themes and mediums including watercolor, pastel, pen and ink, paper and cloth collage, weaving, sewing, and embroidery. Charlotte says that weaving, in particular, reconnects her to her Persian ancestry. In weaving, "something very ancient is coming forth in a new and individual way." Charlotte's children's book, Grow, Watermelon, Grow, is a personal narrative incorporating vignettes from her own childhood and featuring Farsi and Persian motifs within the artwork.
Zahra Nazari (b. 1985, Hamedan, Iran) lives and works in New York City. She has a studio at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts. Her large-scale abstracted and architectonic paintings and installations are based on the ruins of historical sites in Iran in conjunction with American postmodern architectural forms.
Nazari was a recipient of the AIM Fellowship from the Bronx Museum and was a part of the Mentoring Program at the New York Foundation for the Arts. She also received the Artist Residency Fellowship from the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art and the Visiting Artist Fellowship from the Cooper Union School of Art in New York City. Zahra has exhibited both nationally and internationally in many galleries and museums such as the Bronx Museum, the China Millennium Monument, the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, the Saba Institution, the Spartanburg Art Museum, and the Von Fraunberg Art Gallery in Germany.
Marjam Oskoui is a transmedia fine artist working and living in Los Angeles. Oskoui had a nomadic childhood; born in Giessen, Germany, Marjam was raised in Tehran, Iran, and moved to Hannover, Germany when her family was exiled in 1973. It was here that she received her early education, and she also credits heavy artistic influence to the Dada artists active in Hannover at this time. Oskoui entered the University Hildesheim to study Culture and Art, though it was not until 1999 that she went on to receive her M.F.A. at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles. From 2002-2006, Oskoui taught at the Akademie der Bildenden Kuenste Muenchen, New Media Arts with Professor Klaus vom Bruch. Oskoui now continues to teach by invitation, also leading innovative and intuitive painting classes entitled “Express Yourself.” Currently, Oskoui’s artistic work explores the intersection of cultural myth and the perception of the reality inhabited. She says, “I believe communication on all levels, across all media, is the underpinning of better understanding. Before the picture stands the word.”
Dana Nehdaran was born in the Iranian neighborhood of Chaharbagh, Isfahan on the anniversary of his maternal grandfather’s death in 1982. He took his given name, Rahmatollah, from his grandfather who was an art, antique and rare gem merchant; however, he has always been known by his Persian name, Dana, meaning wise. His grandparents’ home held a marvelous collection of paintings and antiques, and his mother and father were arts aficionados, traveling the world to view noted institutional and residential collections. As a child, Dana took great wonder and inspiration from this family’s passion for art and became motivated to study painting after discovering an uncle’s discarded box of art supplies at his grandmother’s house. His mother recognized his passion and talent, nurtured by sharing images from her world travels, and enrolled Dana in private art classes with Hassanpour, a well-known artist who taught Dana fundamentals of art that would eventually lead him to study painting at the Soureh Art University in Shiraz. The most recent series of Esther’s Children was shown in Tehran, Dubai and Los Angeles. Of the more than eight series that Dana has created, all have a focus on the tension between past and present. Dana has been a member of the Iranian Painter Association from 2007. Several works by the artist have been sold at auction, including 'From the Agitations of Pleasure series' sold at Tehran Auction '2014 Modern & Contemporary Iranian Art' in 2014 for $52,933. There have been many articles about Dana Nehdaran, including '14 Iranian Artists Explore Just How Complex Immigration And Identity Can Be' written by Priscilla Frank for The Huffington Post in 2017. He is working on a new series named Fe26.