"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Shiva has established herself as one of the most powerful producer / DJs in Los Angeles.
Igniting dance floors all over the world for the past 10 years, her dynamic range stomps boundaries and shakes souls.
Her roots in music production and theory take her DJ sets to the highest level.
Mixing genres effortlessly, infusing UK citizenship with her Middle Eastern roots, she bridges the worlds deepest rhythms with undeniable soul. Shiva is a force for any dance floor.
Her intuition and talent for tuning into any crowd has come from her years of honing her craft and holding down numerous residencies all over LA, from The House of Blues, Viper Room, The Roxy, and Ace Hotel, just to name a few.
A prominent taste maker in LA’s notorious beat scene, Shiva was one of the few producers called on to help close out the last month of the infamous Low End Theory. With a one-month residency mesmerizing the crowd with two sets tonight she made her mark on the culture that can’t be erased.
Effortlessly bridging the underground to the mainstream, Shiva has been known to play alongside some of the worlds biggest players. Opening up for artists such as CeeLo Green, Nas and Damien Marley, Cypress Hill, Pusha T, Snoop Dogg and many more.
She’s no stranger to entertaining a stadium full of YouTube influencers, Google executives, or a room full of world changing thought leaders.
Shiva has performed for some of the worlds biggest spiritual teachers and visionaries, including Abraham Hicks, Panache Desai, Michael Beckwith, The Agape International Spiritual Center, Kyle Cease, Peter Diamandis, and XPRIZE.
In her precious personal time, she loves to balance the “darkside” with a beam of brilliant light by making meditation music.
Inspired by her own wellness journey and passion for personal evolution, Shiva has given birth to RETURN TO SOUND a meditative bass experience.
This unique event pioneered in LA involves Shiva’s meditation music in collaboration with Subpac, a wearable technology that pulses sound vibration through your body.
Bringing meditation music into a new era with bass as a back bone, Shiva takes you on a fully immersive sonic journey that inspires deep relaxation, trance states, and an opportunity to observe within.
Shiva's mixes have often been featured on LA’s top radio stations and blogs around the world.
Her “SHAKTI (Vol. 1) Mixtape” topped charts on Mixcloud, ranking 1st in global drum n bass, 3rd in global r&b, 4th in global hip hop and 4th in global electronic charts. Her singles have premiered on Mary Anne Hobbs' BBC Radio show and been played on air by legendary DJs on LA’s beloved station, KCRW.
With her signature bass heaving, aquatic heart centered sound, she has inspired a fanbase hungry for more.
From the basement to the ballroom, Shiva has grace, grit, and a lot of talent. Wherever she is playing in the world, hearts and minds are moved open.