Kayvon Zand is an Iranian American artist based in New York City. Known for his extravagant events and personal style, Zand is a proponent of LGBTQ culture and a fixture in the NYC club scene. Zand is also a proud father of two, and his weekly Disco Daddy series is very popular on Instagram. Zand has been featured in many publications, including Interview Magazine, Paper Magazine, The NY Times, French Glamour Magazine, Italian Vanity Fair, Nylon Magazine, and the Huffington Post.
TEHRAN VON GHASRI is a comedian, host, personality, actor, writer, and social activist. A Washington DC native, Tehran was born to a Muslim and Zoroastrian Iranian father and a Christian and Jewish African-American mother making him and his comedy as international and diverse as they come. Having earned double undergrad degrees, Masters in Econ, and a JD, Tehran combines his life experiences with education, unique cultural perspective, and a touch of universal charm to bring comedy, social commentary, and activism alive on stage. A mix of Dave Chapelle meets Maz Jobrani, You can find Tehran hosting his own show twice a week, Monday & Thursdays 10PM, at the Laugh Factory or on his Dash Radio show Imperfect Gentlemen weekly.
Kamran Taheri Moghaddam began studying art in Tehran, obtaining his Bachelor’s Degree from Azad University of Art and Architecture in painting. Kamran continued his studies in Florence, Italy, where he obtained a Master’s Degree from Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze in Visual Art and Multimedia. His work crosses multiple mediums: painting, drawing, installation, and video. Since moving to the United States in 2008, Kamran has creatively worked as a TV producer, using his artistic training and skills to illustrate social and political stories. His paintings and videos have been exhibited in museums, galleries, and art fairs in Iran, Italy, France, and the USA, in shows such as ”ART BRIEF III: THE (UN)DRAPED WOMAN" (Santa Monica, California), “STRAPPA: Dialogue and Performance” (Rogue Space, New York), "Drawings in Motion" at Kentler International Drawing Space (Brooklyn, NY), and "Invideo" (Milan, Italy). His art was also featured at the International Contemporary Art Fair (Mulhous, France), Galleria d’Arte Moderna di Roma in Italy, and Barg Gallery in Tehran, Iran. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Born in Tehran, Iran, Azadeh Tajpour is a multidisciplinary artist based in Cambridge, MA. She is interested in the ways in which we perceive information and the lenses through which we look at “others” exploring the gray area and the shifting borders between “us” and “other.” She works in a variety of media, including, painting, drawing, installation, and is currently working on a documentary.
She holds an MFA from Claremont Graduate University, California and is a recipient of Massachusetts Cultural Council Artists Fellowship and Armory Center for the Art Fellowship. She has attended MassMoCA, Virginia Center for the Arts, Boston Center for the Arts, and Art Omi artist residencies and has exhibited in Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum (UK), La Casa Del Tunel Art Center (Mexico), McNish Gallery (Oxnard College), Jaus Gallery (Los Angeles), Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, Babson College and New Art Center (Boston), among others.
Nima was born in Iran, grew up in France, and then moved to the United States, where he attended college in Texas. After graduation he moved to California, and he now resides in Chicago, Illinois. When he retired as an attorney, Nima decided to pick up photography, an art form he had always loved. Now, as a documentary photographer, he pays particular attention to the cultural, social, and political landscape of our society and photographs issues he finds important. Photography has enabled him to explore the world and to learn about people, issues, and places with which he was unfamiliar. Nima's photographs have been published in various national and international magazines and periodicals including the Washington Post, CNN, the New York Times' Lens Blog and more.
Ramin Talaie is an Iranian-American photographer, filmmaker, and producer based in San Francisco, CA, and Brooklyn, NY. He teaches photojournalism as a part-time adjunct at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Niloufar Talebi is a writer, award-winning translator, and multidisciplinary artist. She is the editor and translator of "Belonging: New Poetry by Iranians Around the World" (North Atlantic Books, 2008), translator of Vis & I (l’Aleph, 2017), and creator of multimedia works including “ICARUS/RISE” and “Persian Rite of Spring.” She was a librettist Resident Artist with the Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center and the American Lyric Theater where she developed her first operas (The Investment, 2015, and The Disinherited, 2014, respectively). As a librettist, she has received many commissions, including those from Carnegie Hall, Cal Performances, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (Fire Angels, 2011), VisionIntoArt, and the Young People's Chorus of NYC (Epiphany, 2015). Talebi’s work has received accolades from The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, and SF Classical Voice.
Azin Valy is the founder and designer of Cityzen by Azin, a luxury fashion and accessories brand based on incorporating aerial views of cities from around the world and promoting global Cityzen-ship with an overarching vision for peace. Ms. Valy is also a partner and co-founder of the award winning Architecture and Design firm, I-Beam Design, based in NY. Her belief in the power of design inspiring and making a difference in people’s lives is evident in her training as an architect as well as a fashion designer, linking the person with the place.
As an architect with over 20 years of experience in design and construction ranging in scale from urban projects to product design and in scope from high-end residential to refugee shelters has earned her firm a number of awards. It was recently listed as one of the top architecture firms in New York City by New York Magazine.
Azin’s approach in her fashion brand, Cityzen By Azin, carries the same thread that runs through her architecture practice: design with a purpose. The spark for Cityzen emerged out of an urban research project. Looking at the cities from above and highlighting their beauties and the challenges they face was the impetus to create a platform where design and social responsibility could merge.
Azin’s work in architecture and fashion has been published in numerous national and international publications and has won a number of awards.
She was born in Iran and immigrated to the US in 1978 at age 14. She received a full scholarship from The Cooper Union School of Art and Science where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture. She was recently invited at the request of the US Chamber of Commerce in Doha for the “Bridge That Unites Us” fashion event. One of her designs, worn by the “Space Ambassador and Astronaut” Anousheh Ansari, graced the 89th Academy Award’s stage as she accepted the Oscars on behalf of Asghar Farhadi’s film The Salesman.
Reza Vali was born in Ghazvin, Iran, in 1952. He began his music studies at the Conservatory of Music in Tehran. In 1972 he went to Austria and studied music education and composition at the Academy of Music in Vienna. After graduating from the Academy of Music, he moved to the United States and continued his studies at the University of Pittsburgh, receiving his Ph.D. in music theory and composition in 1985. Mr. Vali has been a faculty member of the School of Music at Carnegie Mellon University since 1988. He has received numerous honors and commissions, including the honor prize of the Austrian Ministry of Arts and Sciences, two Andrew W. Mellon Fellowships, commissions from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Kronos Quartet, the Carpe Diem String Quartet, the Seattle Chamber Players, and the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music, as well as grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Pittsburgh Foundation, and the Pittsburgh Board of Public Education. He was selected by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust as the Outstanding Emerging Artist for which he received the Creative Achievement Award. Vali's orchestral compositions have been performed in the United States by the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Seattle Symphony, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Baltimore Symphony, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestra 2001. His chamber works have received performances by Cuarteto Latinoamericano, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the Carpe Diem String Quartet, Kronos Quartet, the Seattle Chamber Players, and the Da Capo Chamber Players. His music has been performed in Europe, China, Chile, Mexico, Hong Kong, and Australia and is recorded on the Naxos, New Albion, MMC, Ambassador, Albany, and ABC Classics labels.
Arash Yaghmaian Is a visual artist who focuses on socio-political and cultural issues. He was born in Iran and he lives and works in New York. He worked as a graphic designer throughout his life, yet always had a strong love for photography. His personal life experiences in dealing with addiction, war, and migration have taught him to have a deep appreciation and understanding of life. Through his own personal struggles he has learned how to capture images of his subjects with dignity and empathy. His work explores and captures social and cultural realities through visual documentary storytelling and fine art.
Born in Iran, Roxanne Varzi migrated to the U.S. with her family shortly after the Revolution. Today she is a writer, a visual anthropologist, and a filmmaker. Her first film, Plastic Flowers Never Die, has been shown in festivals and museums around the world.
Roxanne's work often centers around the intersection of religion, vision, and power, and it often questions whether the individual ultimately has the power to "turn an image on or off." To this end, Roxanne has gone beyond working on Iran (where she has done significant field work) to tackle universal issues surrounding war and photography.
While Vatan's band members were raised (and even born) in the United States, the members draw inspiration from their home countries. Through their music, Vatan honors their roots while celebrating the coming together of their cultures. The country underlinings honor America and what it has to offer those who come from another country to start a new life while continuing to empower their heritage through music. Coining the term, "Iranicana," Vatan truly travels between two worlds and gracefully takes the audience along for the ride.
Mahnaz Weldy is an emerging artist working primarily with acrylic paints on canvas. She employs bold colors to make revealing and emotional statements in abstract form. Her approach is guided by worldly curiosity and thoughtful reflection on a life fully lived—she only began painting 20 years into a non-artistic career, after having raised two grown children with her husband of 33 years. Accordingly, Mahnaz says that she did not find painting—painting found her.
Sholeh Wolpé is an Iranian-born poet, writer and public speaker. A recipient of the 2014 PEN/Heim, 2013 Midwest Book Award and 2010 Lois Roth Persian Translation prize, among others, Wolpé ’s literary work include four collections of poetry, a play, three books of translations, and three anthologies. About Wolpé ’s latest collection of poems, Keeping Time with Blue Hyacinths, Shelf Awareness Magazine writes, “A gifted Iranian-American poet beautifully explores love and the loss of love, beauty and war and the ghosts of the past.” Wolpé’s modern translation of The Conference of the Birds by the 12th century Iranian mystic poet, Attar (W.W. Norton), has been hailed by Reza Aslan as a translation that “is sure to be as timeless as the masterpiece itself.” Wolpé ’s writings have been translated into eleven languages and included in numerous American and international anthologies and journals of poetry and fiction, and featured on programs such as Selected Shorts at Symphony Space and NPR. She has lived in the UK and Trinidad and is presently based in Los Angeles.
Bijan Yashar was born in Tehran, Iran and has been living in California since 1979, when he and his family moved to the United States. A Bay Area-based video artist and photographer, Yashar has an MFA in New Genres from the San Francisco Art Institute and an MA in Educational Psychology from UC Berkeley. His photography and video works have been exhibited and screened at Torrance Art Museum, Napa Valley Art Museum, de Young Museum, and Pacific Film Archive.
Yashar is currently an Adjunct Professor at California College of the Arts and teaches digital photography at Berkeley City College and Las Positas College. He also has taught as a visiting artist at the San Francisco Art Institute, Saint Mary’s College, and UC Berkeley's Academic Talent Development Program.
With an obsessive focus on material and forms that embody subjective vs. objective sense of selfhood, Termeh’s work explores themes of personal, political, and economic displacement and cultural representation. Her recent projects are an inquiry into the nature of belonging and attempts to claim one’s place as subversive activity. She exploits objects, images, and language found within the collective consciousness and personal realm to the point of fetishistic iconography as a process of reflection and affirmation.
Mehri Yazdani has exhibited her paintings internationally for the past several years. Her work has been presented in Greece, Germany, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California, Washington, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Ms. Yazdani has received numerous awards on the East Coast including the Pennsylvania Governor's Award for outstanding accomplishment in the Fine Arts and the William Emlon Cresson Traveling Scholarship to Europe.
Born in Tehran, Iran, Ms. Yazdani has lived in the United States for the last forty-five years. She has a degree in English Literature from Tehran University. Her post graduate studies included Persian Literature and Middle Eastern Languages at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her Fine Arts degree is from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia.
Mehri Yazdani's painting evolved from her love for the art of ancient Persia, Greece, and Egypt. Her semi-abstract images give new form to ancient motifs, creating a unique style. Her vibrant colors, the texture of her canvases with their irregular surfaces reminiscent of the peeling paint of old frescoes, and the simplicity of her shapes all convey the expressiveness of Classical art.
Ms. Yazdani now lives in Sacramento. There is a permanent public display of six of her paintings in the Tsakopoulos Hellenic Collection at the Library of Sacramento State University.
In 2015, Sassan Youssefi has started his own band - Bemol - in Tehran, mixing Persian and Jazz music. At the end of 2016, Sassan immigrated to the USA. For six months, Sassan played in the Penta Band as a pianist in Bay Area until he moved to LA and started a new band called - JAZAL. The word JAZAL is the combination of Jazz and Ghazal, which is the famous Persian poem form, and Jazz. These days, Sassan is working for the new music of JAZAL band and trying to make new experiences in the relation between Jazz and Persian poetry.
Misha Zadeh was born in Tehran and raised in Seattle. She graduated from the University of Washington with degrees in graphic design and interdisciplinary visual art. She has worked as a graphic designer and illustrator and as the sole proprietor of a greeting card company (Turquoise Creative), where she sold her handmade, cut-paper, and letterpress stationery via retailers throughout North America and Europe. Her work has been featured in numerous publications such as RealSimple and O, the Oprah Magazine.
Misha has received recognition for her bold and graphic posters for the Seattle Iranian Festival, as well as her more recent artwork in response to the Women’s March on Washington.
She is currently expanding her art licensing opportunities with new illustrations and surface patterns rendered in cut-paper, pen and ink, watercolor, and digital illustration.
Beheshteh Zebhi is a New York based fashion photographer and film director. She gained her master's degree in Fashion Photography from the School of Visual Art, NYC. Her work has been published nationally and internationally and she has held many solo and group exhibitions in Iran, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Dubai, the United States and the UK.
Iranian born composer and multi-instrumentalist Loga Ramin Torkian is internationally recognized for his ground- breaking work with world music groups Niyaz and Axiom Of Choice, both of which he co-founded. Born in Tehran, Iran, Loga moved to the United States as a teenager after the Iranian Revolution. This major transition would fuel much of his musical and artistic expression in the years to come as he struggled to reconcile the bonds of tradition and culture with his own personal experiences. A highly gifted composer and a visionary, Loga is greatly respected worldwide for his ability to adapt the Persian classical repertoire to his own unique and modern compositions.
Formed in 1992 along with singer Mamak Khadem, Axiom of Choice’s music though deeply rooted in the Radif (traditional Persian repertoire), gained universal appeal due to the unique compositional structures and progressive sounds created by Loga. Since 1992, Axiom of choice released three critically acclaimed albums on Narada, “Beyond Denial”1994, “Niyayesh” 2000, and “Unfolding” 2002.
In 2005, along with vocalist Azam Ali , Loga founded the best-selling world music group Niyaz. Blending medieval Sufi poetry and folk songs from Iran, the Indian sub-continent and Turkey, rich acoustic instrumentation, with modern electronics, Niyaz created a 21st century global trance tradition and quickly became a standout ensemble in a very crowded world music field. With four highly successful albums released to date on Six Degrees Records, Niyaz is considered by critics to be one of the most groundbreaking groups of its time. Since 2005 Loga continues to tour worldwide with Niyaz.
Loga released his first solo album Mehraab in 2011, which brought to the forefront his exceptional musicianship along with his highly innovative and complex sensibility for composition. The album featured the astounding voice of Persian classical singer Khosrow Ansari.
Arman Tajarrod born in September, 1985, is an Iranian stand-up comedian, artist, musician, and engineer. He started performing stand-up comedy as a teenager for casual get togethers. In 2015, Arman immigrated to NYC, US and started his MS program at NYU. Arman has had multiple performances in NYC, the Bay Area, Houston etc. Arman is known for his improvisational skills and his materials focus on his personal experiences as a form of comedy and a way to release his energy and emotions.
Tahmoures Tabatabaei was born in Tehran, Iran on 15 November, 1992. He started learning music through Orff music approach class at the age of 7. He studied with Saeed Alijany for two years and continued private piano lessons until being admitted to the University of Tehran, where he studied with Professor Raphael Minaskanian. He completed his bachelor degree in piano performance in 2016. During that time, he gave recitals both as a soloist and a collaborator. In 2015, he won first prize in the 9th Annual Youth Music Festival Competition. He also participated in several masterclasses with pianists such as Gottlieb Walisch, Doris Lindner, and Tamara Dolidze. After graduation, he participated in the Barbad International Music Festival in Shiraz, Iran, and was placed among the top 10 within the final round. In 2017, he began a Master of Music in piano performance at Western Michigan University, studying under Professor Lori Sims.
Shirin uses traditional crafts to recontextualize commonly held ideas surrounding labor. By focusing on the means of production, her practice explores issues of social inequity, across class, ethnicity, and gender – raising questions about who benefits and who suffers from our current systems of production and consumption.
Shirin’s projects build empathy with others’ experiences and stories in order to break down preconceived assumptions and stereotypes. Her multi-medium approach incorporates textiles, performance with objects, and working on socially engaged art projects within my local community. Shirin works with ideas about family, memory, comfort, and self-constructed identity resulting from feelings of non-belonging as a second generation Iranian immigrant.
Taravat Talepasand’s interdisciplinary painting practice questions normative Western beauty, by way of politically charged images of contemporary Iranian women under the guise of traditional Persian painting. Her work expresses the role of women in the hyphenated American identity, through global feminist ideologies, Iranian political histories and the oppression of female sexuality in Iran. Asking the viewer to reconsider normative western ideologies of her native country and citizens of the Iranian Diaspora in a myriad of ways. Taravat is currently the Department Chair of Painting at the San Francisco Art Institute. Her work has been exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; de Young Museum, San Francisco; Orange Country Museum of Art. Taravat was included in the 2018 Bay Area Now 8 exhibition at the Yerba Buena Center of the Arts in San Francisco and the 2010 California Biennial at the Orange County Museum. She was the recipient of the 2010 Richard Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship at the San Francisco Art Institute.