"I like to deliver my work in small portions; portions that are microscopically forged by a phenomenologically-painstaking process that is not to be fixed or normalized."
Cameron Shafii is an Iranian composer practicing generative and electroacoustic music. His compositions are inflected with a host of digital synthesis processes and are informed by aspects of acousmatic theory, particularly spectromorphology. His works do not impose any temporal scheme upon the listener, rejecting the semiotic operation of 'engagement/disengagement' in the discourse of A.J. Greimas. 'Pithy & Prolix,' his new piece for the Entr'acte label, features sound scenes that emphasize the materiality and morphology of spatial textures. In it, Shafii presents an asymmetrical narrative that articulates tension, amorphous forms, and complex sonorities, signifying a plurality of meaning and complication.
Shafii has performed at concerts, festivals, installations, and workshops in the US and Canada. He runs the Ge-stell label and is currently based in Seattle, Washington.
Ashkan Sahihi (b. Tehran, 1963) is a photographer known for his unique work: prisoners on death row, hip hoppers, writers, female soldiers, explorations of the facial expressions of people under the influence of various drugs they are trying for the first time.
Sahihi’s family left Iran for Germany when he was seven; he moved to New York in 1987 and subsequently created photographs for the weekend magazines of Die Zeit and Süddeutsche Zeitung, Spiegel and GEO, the New York Times Magazine, the New Yorker, and Vogue.
His work was presented at New York’s Andrea Rosen Gallery in 2000 and featured in shows at MoMA PS1 in New York, the Berlin Academy of Arts, Macro in Rome, and elsewhere.
His most recent work is a portrait of Berlin comprising 350 photographs of women living in Berlin.
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.
Aida, initially a daf player, studied with Amir Samadi in Tehran, Iran. She moved from Tehran to Minneapolis in summer of 2000. She is mostly self-taught when it comes to the Persian vocal repertoire. Her passion for Persian classical music stems from the cultural identity she craved after immigrating and the women she met during her years of study. Her senior project in the University of Minnesota’s Anthropology department centered around restrictions on the voices of female classical vocalists in Iran. Through this project Aida met, interviewed, and studied with Parissa for a period of 3 months. While residing in NYC, Aida worked with a few non-profit organizations as a teaching artist promoting the arts as a tool for social justice. She created and taught a class called Iran’s Arts Activism centered around the effects of society on art and vise versa, at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She released her debut album, Wind Between the Horse’s Ears, in 2015. She currently works with a social justice theatre troupe called Making Waves housed at Hamline University. Aida lives in Minneapolis with her husband and their dog, Milo.
Kamran Sharif is an Iranian sculptor. Born in 1978 in Tabriz, Iran, he graduated from Mirak Art School in Tabriz. He opened his first private studio in Tehran, but he currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California.
Kamran has worked with many different techniques throughout his artistic career, using materials from wood to bronze. He considers himself a mostly self-educated artist and his works have been displayed both locally and internationally.
Kamran's most recent works are the outcome of his critical approach to various socio-cultural conditions in the "new world" that he currently finds himself experiencing.
Roger Sedarat is the author of four poetry books, including the just released Haji as Puppet: An Orientalist Burlesque (Word Works, 2017). He is the winner of the 2016 Tenth Gate Prize for Mid-Career Poets, and he wrote Dear Regime: Letters to the Islamic Republic (which won Ohio University Press’ Hollis Summers’ Prize) and Ghazal Games (Ohio UP, 2011).
Roger teaches creative writing (poetry and literary translation) in the MFA program at Queens College, City University of New York. He teaches and writes on such academic interests as 19th and 20th century American literature, as well as Middle Eastern-American literature. Currently, Roger is working toward translating a full-length collection of ghazals by the 14th century Sufi Persian poet, Hafez.
Maybe Jairan Sadeghi is a multi-disciplinary artist. Working in what is essentially analog media, they use the [largely] unintentional aesthetics of scientific enterprise as their conceptual starting point to create drawings, paintings, sculpture, and installations. Sadeghi is drawn to the visual systems and conventions used by scientists and technologists to collect, convey, and assign value to information. They use illustrator’s mediums, ceramics, and other implements to render abstract and symbolic forms, treating the act of portraiture in its broadest sense, drawing tension between the abstruse symbolism of science and the inevitability of human fingerprints.
Kamron Saniee is an electronic musician and composer based in NYC. Inspired by musical cultures ranging from Persian classical to avant-garde electronic movements, his music has been noted for its forward energy, textural sound palette and rhythmic intensity. Having previously trained as a classical violinist, Saniee's approach is dynamic and improvisational, resulting in visceral and enlivening live sets. He was one of 8 US producers selected for the 2016 edition of the prestigious Red Bull Music Academy and has performed his electronic works in New York, Montréal, Berlin, Budapest, and Tokyo.
Since 2015, he has explored a parallel project in spatial sound composition, producing numerous live performances and installations for multichannel formats in a style which he terms "ultra-spatial," where a combination of programmatic synthesis and haptic control allows the creation and expressive modulation of deeply spatial oscillations.
In March of 2017, Saniee released his debut solo work, Tantric Dub EP, via Berlin imprint VE-302, channeling oriental stylistic influences in a techno and electro-leaning idiom.
Farideh Sakhaeifar was born in Tehran, Iran, and received her MFA in 2011 from the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning at Cornell University. She received her BFA in 2008 from Azad Art and Architecture University in Tehran. Some of Farideh's solo exhibitions include: Sacrosanct at the William Holman Gallery in New York and Laugh Track at Cathouse FUNeral in Brooklyn. Select group exhibitions include: Photography Now at the Center of Photography at Woodstock, War Stories at the William Holman Gallery, Nazri at the Factory Gallery in Hamedan, Iran, and Meditations in an Emergency at the Dumbo Art Center in New York. Sakhaeifar was a visiting scholar at New York University in 2013, and a visiting artist at The New School for Liberal Arts in 2012. She lives and works in Brooklyn, and is represented by the William Holman Gallery.
Sepideh Salehi is a multidisciplinary artist who was born in Tehran. She left Iran to attend Accademia di belle Arti in Florence, Italy, where she received her MFA in Visual Art and Multimedia. Sepideh works in various mediums, utilizing different processes ranging from painting to drawing to printmaking to video art animation. Some of the venues at which Salehi has shown her work include ART BRIEF III: THE (UN)DRAPED WOMAN, Contemporary Art Biennale (Iran), STRAPPA Rogue Space, the Craft and Folk Art Museum (LA), Kentler International Drawing Space (Brooklyn), Tribeca Video Art, Centre for Contemporary Art, and International Bologna Art Fair (Italy). Sepideh currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
A veteran IT executive and a serial entrepreneur, Bardia became an artist in 2011 during his “self-discovery” period, working at a plant nursery. His art career started with installations incorporating live plants, inspired by the vertical gardens of Patrik Blanc. He then moved into making larger interactive installations, working with found objects. The inspiration for his art comes from a single moment. A moment dipped in wonder, “why not,” and enlightenment.
A major recent project, “I Have A Home Here,” is a school bus converted into an art gallery showcasing art produced in collaboration with a group of un-housed people in Washington DC. More recently, Bardia’s work has shifted towards new media, specifically LED light installations. Somewhere between a light bulb and a computer screen resides a new visual sense, expressed in the language of lights.
Ramin Serry has written and directed two critically-acclaimed films, Maryam (“Powerful, important and very moving.” - Roger Ebert) and Loveless (”Watch for Serry; he is a genuine talent.” - Michael Phillips, The Chicago Tribune.) Serry’s short films, “Don’t Call It A Comeback” (2013) and the award-winning “Future Hero” (2014) were official selections at multiple film festivals. He has recently completed a comedic web series, "Film U.” Serry has taught screenwriting at Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College, The University of Georgia, The Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema, and Hunter College.
Nanda Sharif-pour holds a B.A. in visual communication/graphic design and M.F.A. in illustration/fine arts from Azad University of Art and Architecture in Tehran, Iran. Since 1999 she has participated in over 40 group and solo exhibitions in the United States, Turkey, and Iran.
Currently she is back to graduate school to continue her education in the UNLV Master of Fine Arts program.
Much of her previous works involved traditional mediums exploring both psychological states and sociological roles. This was accomplished through her figurative portrayals of women in sparse, mute, and, to some extent, artificial spaces. Being inspired by both old masters and contemporary artists, Sharif-pour connects her paintings to the surrounding space through juxtaposing imagery and actual objects. This creates a new concept which wouldn’t exist without a re-defined relationship between two (or more) normal imageries or objects forming an uncanny or unfamiliar situation in juxtaposition.
More recently, she is expanding her themes across different mediums, such as installation and sculpture.
Soody Sharifi is an Iranian-American artist based in Houston. Her work primarily deals with the paradoxes and contradictions inherent in living between two cultures. In many of her series, she has explored the notion of identity and what it means to participate in two cultures from both an outsider’s and an insider’s perspective. Through different series, she investigates this concept as it applies to Muslim youth in Iran and the US and their emerging concept of self-identity. Specifically, Soody explores how these individuals accommodate modernity and youthful indulgence within the confines of a very traditional society.
Soody has been exhibited nationally and internationally since 2004 and her art has been collected by the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Museum of Fine Arts Portland, and the Farjam Collection in the United Arab Emirates.
Sherwin is a multi-dimensional artist living in Richmond, Virginia.
A native Iranian, Shayan was raised in South Carolina since the early age of ten. Growing up in South Carolina, he experienced an adventurous transition adjusting to a new culture and way of life. He found his passion in acting towards the latter years of high school and went on to pursue a career in acting. A graduate of the Actors Theatre of Louisville's Acting Apprenticeship, Shayan quickly found his network of like minded artists in New York City, where he resides today. As a professional actor he has appeared in Madam Secretary, Elementary, Unforgettable, Jessica Jones & Veep. His original sketches which he co-wrote and starred in, have also been featured on Funny or Die!
Mona Shomali is a U.S. based artist who was born in California in 1979. She began painting seriously at the age of 15 after being introduced to nude life drawing classes sponsored by the Berkeley Artists Guild. When she was 19 years old, Mona started the Naked Folklore series, depicting American-Iranian women. Mona’s art is known to be influenced by the Bay Area (California) figurative movement (1950-1965) and Iranian art. Her work reflects her experience growing up on the West Coast as an Iranian woman, and much of her artwork features modern Iranian women in traditional settings.
Melissa Shoshahi is an Iranian-American stand-up comedian and actress based in Los Angeles. Performing across the country and Canada, Melissa brings her witty personality to the stage and knows no limits when it comes to comedy—culture, politics, race and gender are all fair game. Melissa’s creativity and writing are showcased on Nickelodeon’s NickMom channel, her stand-up has been featured on the TV show Laughs on FOX, and she is a NACA showcase artist performing at universities throughout the country. Her festival credits include the San Francisco Comedy Competition, the She Devil Comedy Festival in NY, the Westside Comedy Competition and the Desi Comedy Festival in San Francisco.
Alma Sinai (b. Tehran 1989) is a multidisciplinary artist currently based in New York and Tehran. She moved to the US in 2010 after transferring from a BA major in Cinematography at University of Art in Tehran to pursue a BFA in painting at Rhode Island School of Design. Following the completion of her bachelor degree she entered the MFA program at Parsons the New School for Design and graduated in 2015.
She works primarily in printmaking, drawing, and video to unfold her ideas on the notions of abruption, suspension, and absence. Titled Where my past expires in a deed, Sinai held her first solo exhibition at Dastan Gallery in Tehran. Formerly she has participated in group exhibitions in New York, Rhode Island, Tasmania, Rome, Dubai, New Delhi, and Tehran.
Born and educated in Tehran, Iran, Behnaz Sohrabian started painting as little child and continued her passion professionally from the age of 13. Behnaz received a BS in Applied Chemistry, a BA in Painting and a Master of Arts in Art Studies. After receiving her master’s degree, she immigrated to Oklahoma, America to be near family. Speaking about her work, Behnaz commented that “My work is about me, my life, being a woman and the struggles that women still face in this era. I paint women as people- strong people with depth and power. I paint them as delicate and sensitive, but not weak.
Katayoun Stewart is a Persian-American artist who was born in Tehran, Iran in 1966. From a very early age she was making countless drawings as a response to what she saw or experienced.
During Katayoun's early teens, following the Iranian-Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran spent eight long years at war with Iraq. Katayoun, in high school at this time, was encouraged by the staff to use her drawing and painting skills to create several large wall murals of soldiers, tanks, and war stories. For a teenager, the militaristic subject matter was disturbing; however, Katayoun chose to turn it into a positive educational experience, focusing strongly and methodically on the human form.
After several years working as a self-taught artist, she decided to pursue a formal art education in 1993. During her studies at Tehran’s Alzahra University of Art she was introduced to a much larger art world. Katayoun was intensely moved by abstract artists like Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and Joan Miró. From here her curiosity grew and after receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1997, she knew she had to experience more of the world.
This curiosity for the art and culture of other lands has taken her on a journey of discovery. In 2000 she moved to Turkey. She lived there for 3 years and received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Hacettepe University of Art in Ankara.
In 2003, Katayoun moved to the United States. She has since traveled through many parts of the country. She has lived in California, Michigan, and Florida, and currently, she lives in Pennsylvania. In 2013 she decided to study for a year in the Post Baccalaureate program at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts to experience art education in this country. From there she was introduced to major figurative painters Vincent Desiderio and Renee Foulks, as well as others. She also started sculpture with John Horn in an effort to study the human figure in a medium other than paint. This experience was a turning point for Katayoun, and her art works have transitioned from abstract to figurative. She says, "Figurative arts allow me to work conceptually and portray my ideas about life."
Since the mid-2000s, much of Katayoun’s art (stylistically abstract expressionistic pieces) has been sold to private collectors. Oakland University in Michigan commissioned her to paint a series for display in their Kresge Library and an upscale hotel in Michigan commissioned her to create a series of paintings for their lobby and business offices.
She has taught art at the elementary, high school, and college levels. Currently Katayoun spends her days as a full-time artist.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Amin Sharifi (Mohammad Amin Sharifi), Iranian contemporary composer, studied Composition at the Art University of Tehran and Indiana University Jacobs School of Music under the direction of Nader Mashayekhi, Mehdi Hosseini, Peter Ablinger, Klaus Lang, David Dzubay, and Don Freund. He also has had lessons with Georg Friedrich Haas, Dai Fujikura, Tansy Davies, Augusta Read Thomas, George Nussbaumer, Rolf Wallin, Alex Mincek, Kate Soper, Sven-David Sandström, Ken Ueno, John Gibson, Nina C. Young, and Sean Shepherd.
Sharifi designed “Break time,” a project which exposes high school students to in-depth study of classical music and literature. This project helps to improve the listening habits of people without academic music experience. He also has worked as assistant conductor to Nader Mashayekhi with the Tehran Cultural Philharmonic Orchestra and has conducted the Pierrot-Tehran New Music Ensemble, both in The First Tehran Contemporary Music Festival and several recording seasons. He has also received the prestigious Artistic Excellence Award of Indiana University Jacobs School of Music as Assistant Director of the IU New Music Ensemble.
His works have been performed in the United States, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, and his home Iran. His music was called “creative, individualistic, artistic” by the critique of Juilliard School of Music and “product of an unbridled imagination” by the Memphis Daily News. Sharifi's pieces have been performed by such new-music ensembles as S.E.M., Luna Nova, DissonArt, Duo Sequenza, Pierrot-Tehran, Breakout, the Indiana University Symphonic Band, and the Indiana Philharmonic. His music has been heard at eviMus 2017, 2nd TCMF, Druskomanija Festival, and RISUONANZE 2018. In summer 2017, his triple concerto TrombionOphone or Riders in the Field of Hope for soprano saxophone, trombone and accordion was the first-prize winner of the XXIII Edition of International Composition Competition Concorso 2 Agosto and was performed by the Tuscanini Philharmonic Orchestra in Piazza Maggiore in Bologna, Italy.
Recently, “A Portrait of the Composer as a Young Man” (after the title of James Joyce’s first novel), an album of Amin Sharifi’s select chamber music composed from 2013 to 2016, was released by Petrichord Records in the U.S. and Arqnoon Records in Iran. The music was performed and recorded by members of the Pierrot-Tehran New Music Ensemble, Breakout Ensemble and solo artists in Germany, the U.S. and Iran. This album could be considered the musical equivalent of Künstlerroman, German for “artist’s novel”—a narrative about a young artist’s serious explorations and growth toward artistic maturity.
Amin Sharifi currently holds a Ph.D fellowship in Composition at Duke University in the United States.
Ava Shadmani was born in 1991 in Tehran, Iran. She began learning the violin at the age 11 studying at Tehran School of the Fine Arts where she received her High School Honors Diploma. She holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Tehran where she graduated in 2015. Ava is a former violinist of the Arvand String Quartet, an active chamber group in Iran that has appeared in several performances and recordings with the goal of bringing classical music into more accessible venues. In addition to being an active chamber musician she worked with some of the professional Iranian Orchestras such as Tehran Symphonic Orchestra, Parsian Chamber Orchestra, and Tehran Philharmonic Orchestra. As an Iranian woman with a deep passion for Persian culture and music, she began playing the Kamanche (an Iranian bowed string instrument)and has appeared in performances promoting the music of her country.
Ava moved to the United States in summer of 2016 to study Violin Performance under Professor David Salness at The University of Maryland. She received her Master’s degree from UMD in Spring of 2018 and was honored to be a recipient of the prestigious Smith Scholarship during her time there.
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.
As an Iranian native, Canadian citizen, and American resident, Azin Seraj’s art practice is situated between languages and cultures, and informed by her experience as an immigrant woman. Seraj’s video, photography, and multimedia installations are grounded in a transnational visual culture that is unique to her personal history, and presented as visually and sonically lush environments
Seraj’s social practice artworks make use of citizen journalism and research into Middle Eastern and Western colonial histories. She seeks to raise awareness of international political issues by connecting viewers with existing activist networks. Her mission is to amplify the voices of the oppressed. Seraj’s work as an educator bridges seamlessly into organization of collective communities of artists and activists through exhibitions, screenings, and actions that function as platforms to archive and share cultural currencies.
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.
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.
Shahryar Shahamat is an Iranian-born artist, Visual designer and videoeditor residing in Brooklyn , New York since 2011. At the age of 18, he entered the professional world as an assistant director working alongside well-known filmmakers and theatre directors in Iran. Shahryar’s work has appeared in many platforms including advertising, posters, album covers, music videos, and video journalism. Painting has been an undecidable part of Shahryar’s life. In 2012, he further educated himself in drawing at New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and sculpture.
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.