Krista Nassi is best known for her installations and paintings. Her paintings are evocative with an impressionistic approach, truly reflecting the character and sensitivity of the artist. The wrenching subjects of her installations are thought-provoking while reflecting the issues of modern times.
Krista is a Persian-American artist who was born in 1970 in Tehran, Iran. Her work can be found at Tehran’s Museum of Modern Arts, as well as a selected number of galleries throughout Europe. After graduating from high school, Krista entered Tehran’s Institute for Graphic Design and Architecture, where she received a diploma in graphic design. She later received a Master of Art degree in painting from the prestigious University of Art, Tehran. Krista has participated in arts exhibitions in Italy, France, Austria, Bangladesh, Singapore, and Iran.
Today, Krista resides in Los Angeles where she is pursing her love of the arts. She continues to create work that is unique in style and reflective of the modern times. She has shown her art in California since 2005.
Aphrodite Désirée Navab is an artist and writer based in New York City of Iranian and Greek descent (b. Isfahan, Iran). In 2004 she completed an Ed.D doctorate in Art Education at Columbia University. She received her BA magna cum laude in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard College in 1993. Her doctoral dissertation, “Unsaying Life Stories: A Comparative Analysis of the Autobiographical Art of Four Iranians,” is the first study specifically focused on the work of artists of the Iranian diaspora.
Nahid Navab is an Iranian-American artist based in Fairfax, VA. Born and raised in Iran, she moved to the United States in her early thirties. She served in the medical profession for some years before she found her passion for art. For Nahid, art became a means of communication, a bridge to reach others and for others to connect to her. In each of Nahid's paintings and handprints there exist expressive, colorful stories that grow out of Nahid's cross-cultural experiences. As a seasoned world traveler and an individual profoundly influenced by Persian history and literature, Navhid skillfully blends cultures from across the globe to create artwork infused with a synthesis of heritage and contemporary urban life. Navab’s works represent her belief that art is a conduit for social change.
Zahra Nazari (b. 1985, Hamedan, Iran) lives and works in New York City. She has a studio at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts. Her large-scale abstracted and architectonic paintings and installations are based on the ruins of historical sites in Iran in conjunction with American postmodern architectural forms.
Nazari was a recipient of the AIM Fellowship from the Bronx Museum and was a part of the Mentoring Program at the New York Foundation for the Arts. She also received the Artist Residency Fellowship from the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art and the Visiting Artist Fellowship from the Cooper Union School of Art in New York City. Zahra has exhibited both nationally and internationally in many galleries and museums such as the Bronx Museum, the China Millennium Monument, the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, the Saba Institution, the Spartanburg Art Museum, and the Von Fraunberg Art Gallery in Germany.
Charlotte Noruzi is a multi-disciplinary artist working in both two and three dimensions. Her work covers diverse themes and mediums including watercolor, pastel, pen and ink, paper and cloth collage, weaving, sewing, and embroidery. Charlotte says that weaving, in particular, reconnects her to her Persian ancestry. In weaving, "something very ancient is coming forth in a new and individual way." Charlotte's children's book, Grow, Watermelon, Grow, is a personal narrative incorporating vignettes from her own childhood and featuring Farsi and Persian motifs within the artwork.
Marjam Oskoui is a transmedia fine artist working and living in Los Angeles. Oskoui had a nomadic childhood; born in Giessen, Germany, Marjam was raised in Tehran, Iran, and moved to Hannover, Germany when her family was exiled in 1973. It was here that she received her early education, and she also credits heavy artistic influence to the Dada artists active in Hannover at this time. Oskoui entered the University Hildesheim to study Culture and Art, though it was not until 1999 that she went on to receive her M.F.A. at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles. From 2002-2006, Oskoui taught at the Akademie der Bildenden Kuenste Muenchen, New Media Arts with Professor Klaus vom Bruch. Oskoui now continues to teach by invitation, also leading innovative and intuitive painting classes entitled “Express Yourself.” Currently, Oskoui’s artistic work explores the intersection of cultural myth and the perception of the reality inhabited. She says, “I believe communication on all levels, across all media, is the underpinning of better understanding. Before the picture stands the word.”
Born in Iran in 1962, Yari Ostovany moved to the United States at the age of 16 and pursued his studies in art first at the University of Nevada, Reno and then at the San Francisco Art Institute (where he received his MFA in 1995). He was based in Cologne from 2000 to 2004, and since 2011 has been residing in the San Francisco Bay Area. Ostovany has exhibited extensively in the United States and internationally, and is the recipient of the Sierra Arts Endowment Grant, the Craig Sheppard Memorial Grant, and the Sierra Nevada Arts Foundation Grant. Recent solo exhibitions include Stanford Art Spaces at Stanford University, Vorres Gallery in San Francisco, and Aria Gallery in Tehran, Iran.
His work is in the permanent collections of institutions including the New Britain Museum of American Art in New Britain, Connecticut, Pasargad Bank Museum in Tehran, Iran, and the University of Nevada, Reno Art Department. Yari is represented by the Foundation Behram Bakhtiar in France, Artscoops in Lebanon, Gregory Mansfield Artist's Agency in Chicago, braveARTconsulting in Santa Fe, and Art Represent, Emergeast, and Ideal Art in London.
Yari Ostovany currently lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Sourena Parham is a visual artist and online media professional with a background in cultural studies, photography, and documentary filmmaking. Sourena’s photography projects include “Tehran, Seen through Objects” and “Murals of East LA and Echo Park”. In 2002 he worked with the Margaret Mead Award recipient, Tobias Hecht, on a series of photographs for a Guggenheim-funded book project, Afterlife. The subject of the project was the life of street children in the city of Recife, Brazil. Between 2003 and 2008 Sourena worked with the Library of Congress to collect and preserve the publications produced by the Iranian-American community in Los Angeles. During this time, he also worked on a collection of photographs that documented the life of the Iranian-American community in California.
Haley Parsa pursues a BFA in Studio Art with a Business Certificate at the University of Texas at Austin. She represents her school as a Terry Scholar and as a Presidential Scholar and was awarded the UT System Regents’ Outstanding Student Award in Arts and Humanities. Although a Texas native, Parsa is Iranian-American, and in her art, the intersection between her and her Persian heritage is placed under an intimate and meditative lens. Her personal identity is embraced, upheld, and transformed, through her work, into a tool for advocating for and within her larger cultural community.
Sara Pisheh is an award-winning designer born and raised in Shiraz, Iran and now residing in the San Francisco Bay area. Her passion for design takes multiple forms, including industrial design, sculpture, jewelry, furniture, scenic, and stage design. Sara’s unique perspective and bold style marries classical Persian architectural elements with a modern take on calligraphy, oftentimes through a specialized digital fabrication technique. Sara holds an MFA in Design from the University of California, Irvine, and a BA in Design from the University of Tehran. She is the recipient of five different awards from various international festivals. Sara’s global perspective and her passion have led her to the Bay Area, where she continues to explore and create.
Ebrahim Poustinchi, architect, researcher, and art director, completed his post-graduate studies under Greg Lynn at UCLA’s SUPRASTUDIO. Ebrahim previously taught advanced digital modeling and fabrication techniques as a faculty and associate in research at Washington State University. He was also the Technology Director Assistant at UCLA SUPRASTUDIO. During his professional research and studies, he has been affiliated with a variety of academic, professional, and industrial organizations, including the Bot and Dolly Design Studio, Cirque Du Soleil, the IDEAS Robotics Lab at UCLA, the 5D Institute at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Art, Washington State University, the Salk Institute Center for Neurobiology of Vision, and the University of Tehran.
Tala Raassi, an Iranian American fashion designer/author, was born in the United States and raised in Tehran. Named one of the “Most Fearless Women in the World” by Newsweek magazine, Raassi made her mark in the fashion world at an early age with her talent in exclusive swimwear. She is devoted to celebrating the beauty of women’s bodies through her designs and to empowering women all around the world to follow their dreams. For Raassi, “Fashion is Freedom.”
Raassi captivated the world through her inspiring story, entitled “Crime of the Mini Skirt,” featured in Marie Claire magazine. At sixteen she attended her friend’s Sweet 16 house party in a mini skirt. While in the privacy of her friend’s home, the religious police raided the house, and she ultimately faced the harsh punishment of five days in jail and forty lashes for wearing “indecent clothing,” according to Islamic law. Following this sentence, Raassi moved back to the USA where she currently lives. Her story went global, and Rachel Ray, Elle, and Newsweek, among others, interviewed her, giving her the platform to vocalize her vision of fashion as a symbol of freedom. Raassi's memoir "Fashion is Freedom" was published internationally in September of 2016.
Born in Tehran in 1976, Sara Rahbar now lives and works in New York. She pursued an interdisciplinary study program in New York and also studied at Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design in London. Her work ranges from photography to sculpture to installation, but her creations always stem from her personal experiences. Accordingly, her art is largely autobiographical. The first body of work that earned Sara international recognition was her Flag Series (2005-2016), in which traditional fabrics and objects are reworked as collages, forming various incarnations of the American and Iranian flags. This series explores ideas of national belonging and the conflicting role of flags as symbols of ideological and nationalistic violence.
Born in Tehran, Iran, Afarin Rahmanifar has emerged as one of the leading Persian painters working today. Her artistic vision originates, she says, “at the intersecting points of eastern and western culture.” She understands her journey toward her present identity as an American-Iranian woman through these concepts: “Separation”…from what one has been a part of. “Belonging”…to that which is different. “Appearing,” then “disappearing,” then “reappearing” again. Rahmanifar strives to show the body as a vessel, moving through this Journey, taking in new experiences for the mind to process. The intellectual and emotional parts of the self are changed through the act of Separation; the changed self belongs both to the past and to the present.
Each of us, through a process of self-discovery and getting aligned with our soul, can change our environment and the life we choose to live. Atousa’s artwork takes the viewer through a journey of merging with the spirit to see themselves as an innate being who has taken on the clothes of humanness to play in the sandbox of creation. It is about seeing life through the eyes of consciousness, and therefore experiencing peace, love, gratitude, and abundance. Atousa’s art represents her own spiritual transformation which in turn gives others a mirror to see the possibility of their own transformation.
Atousa is also certified in energy healing. She guides clients in meditation which at times incorporates art, dance, and movement. She performs energy healing and tapping on clients to release emotions and thoughts. Atousa’s vision is to provide a support system for the client’s life journey, especially in challenging situations where they need someone who understands and can walk them through it.
Salar Rajabnik is a product of time spent in lots of seemingly contrasting places. Born in the Atlanta area, he was immersed in the world of southern American music early on. The strong Persian cultural influence of his father, an Iranian immigrant, was just as evident at a young age. From the beginning this unexpected amalgamation of cultures began to create the foundation that would define him as a musician and person.
While his influences seem conflicting on the surface level, the underlying and unifying principles are strong. Salar has always been about playing with heart, soul, and honesty.
After years of playing in bands and as both a live and studio musician, Salar relocated to Nashville and formed a backing band, Moon Age, in 2014. Salar’s upcoming solo album, Black & White World, is set to release in 2017.
Maryam Rassapour is a graphic designer, visual artist, and art teacher. Her artwork is mostly based on mixed media. Maryam loves to use different mediums, applying her own unique techniques to boldly express the ordinary life she observes around her, which is strongly inspired by Iranian culture, both past and present.
Maryam was born in Tehran, Iran and she started her artistic journey when she was 13 years old, painting her first oil on canvas piece. From there she continued onward until she received her BFA/MFA in Graphic Design from Azad University in Tehran, Iran.
In 1996, while an undergraduate, Maryam co-founded a boutique graphic design company called Kasheh (http://kasheh.com), with one of her colleagues in Iran. During this period she had several group exhibitions, illustrated some books, and designed several other book covers. Maryam also taught art and helped students prepare their portfolios for university. Kasheh continues to this day and Maryam remotely contributes while her colleague runs the business back in Iran.
Since moving to the U.S. in 2003, Maryam has continued to work as a graphic designer, visual artist, and art teacher. Here she has participated in several group exhibitions in D.C, Miami, Orlando, and LA. Currently, one of her pieces is on exhibit at The Art and Craft Museum in LA, as part of the Focus Iran 2 Exhibition sponsored by The Farhang Foundation.
Gity Razaz is an award-winning composer of concert music. Her music has been hailed by the New York Times as “ravishing and engulfing” and by the San Diego Union Tribune as "remarkable and breathtaking." Ms. Razaz’s music ranges from concert solo pieces to large symphonic works and her work has been performed internationally. Oscar Award-winning composer and mentor John Corigliano writes: “…her Middle-Eastern roots have merged with her Western sensibilities to produce music that is both original and startling. She is on her way to becoming a major force in contemporary music.”
Ms. Razaz was the first Iranian woman to be accepted into the Juilliard School's prestigious graduate composition program. Her music has been performed at Carnegie Hall by the American Composers Orchestra, at Brooklyn's National Sawdust as part of her 2015-2016 tenure as inaugural composer-in-residence, as well as by the Seattle Symphony, former cellist of Kronos Quartet Jeffrey Zeigler, Metropolis Ensemble, Albany Symphony, and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, among many others.
Her upcoming projects include an opera with the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., an evening-length ballet for Moscow Theatre, and multiple works as part of her tenure as 2017 composer-in-residence at New York's Chautauqua Opera.
Fatemeh Rezaeefar is a painter and miniaturist who was born in Tehran, Iran and immigrated to California in 2012. She graduated in Traditional Persian Art from the University of Iran at Alborz. Fatemeh has collaborated with famous artists like Tahmasebi and Abassi, and her specialties are pottery painting and Persian miniatures. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and alternative spaces in Iran, including the International Fajr Exhibition in 2011.
Steeped in Expressionist style, Moshgan's oils capture the deepest artistic nuances, suggestive of the old masters, yet the angular elements of her still-lifes, the free flowing brush strokes of her landscapes, and the bold use of color in her abstracts and flowers demonstrate the maturity of an artist who is determined to remain free in her expression. From the first box of paints and the tentative experiments with color on the balcony of her family's home in Tehran to the present master she is today, nature in all its myriad forms and colors continues to be her most reliable teacher. And as all true artists evolve, so it is with Moshgan that form gives way to color in her new experiments in abstract, all of it reminiscent of that seven year old little girl on her balcony a world away.
Moshgan’s journey to becoming a professional artist first found expression in Iran during that country’s Cultural Revolution in 1979 when the government closed the public universities. After a year of uncertainty, at age 18, the door to her soul life and her destiny opened. Enrolling full time in the prestigious and private Kamalolmolk School of Fine Arts brought her in touch with Saeed Broomand, a gifted teacher and visionary artist who lived in Europe and returned to Kamalolmolk with a keen appreciation of western art forms. Fortunately for Moshgan, Mr. Broomand’s artistry prevented him from allowing technique’s favor to overshadow the heart of his message: It is the responsibility of the artist to be free in their expression. Throughout her studies, an indomitable childlike sensibility played a key role in her developing “technique” and helped transform a tumultuous world into one of infinite possibilities filled with color.
Shortly after graduation, Moshgan knew she needed to expand her horizons for her career to flourish. It was springtime 1986 when she arrived in New York City with desire, passion, determination, and something else: woven from the threads of memory in the creative fabric of her adventurous and artistic soul lived a meandering road lined with giant, bright red poppies, wild flowers of all varieties, blue and lavender mountains, and indigo skies. Well-travelled, this simple country road from Tehran to the villages of her ancestors served as an internal compass and laid the foundation that would become her tapestry of color. Color that her nomadic grandmothers lived and breathed in their daily lives, color that was in their blood and now color that would find expression in Moshgan’s art.
After arriving in America and settling in with her sister in Queens, Moshgan enrolled in Hunter College and quite effortlessly obtained two BA Degrees in Fine Art and Art History. Inspiration was found in her art history classes, in visiting libraries, and in discovering books on master artists unavailable in the country of her birth.
Having built a thriving career that spans four decades and two continents, her collectors worldwide all delight in partaking of the Divine energy expressed in the colorful and deeply passionate works that moved their hearts and now adorn their walls. Moshgan’s paintings continue to be sought after by admirers and fine art collectors from around the world who often delight in remarking that they have several pieces in their collections.
Half-American, half-Persian, Shiva was born and raised in the countryside of Iran. She and her family lived as refugees before settling into a new life in the United States. Finding solace in old films, fashion, and books, Shiva expressed herself through film and theater, launching her Hollywood career. Now, Shiva can be found wandering barefoot in her garden in the Santa Monica Mountains with chickens underfoot and a commitment to clean living. Shiva shares her knowledge regularly on her blog, The Local Rose, and her award-winning line of all-natural products, Shiva Rose Beauty & Skin has become increasingly popular.
Nooshin Rostami is a New York-based interdisciplinary artist and educator. She was born in Shahroud and raised in Tehran, Iran. Rostami has widely exhibited and presented her work in solo and group settings in the United States, Iran, India, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, and Canada. Her work has been featured in number of publications such as Baumtestquarterly, Jadaliyya, and Ajam Media Collective. Rostami's research interests pertain to politics of geography, identity, and gender. In her work she embodies themes often inspired by personal narratives through mediums of performance, installation, drawing, and painting.
Nooshin Rostami is a New York-based interdisciplinary artist and educator. She was born in Shahroud, and raised in Tehran, Iran. Rostami has widely exhibited and presented her work in solo and group settings in the United States, Iran, India, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, and Canada. Her work has been featured in number of publications such as Baumtestquarterly, Jadaliyya and Ajam MediaCollective. Rostami's research interests pertain to politics of geography, identity, and gender. In her work she embodies themes often inspired by personal narratives through mediums of performance, installation, drawing and painting.
Born in Tehran, Iran and raised in the Washington, D.C. metro area, Arsia Rozegar always had a passion for art and creativity. He has worked as a professional color artist on popular titles such as Marvel's Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. In addition to creating comics, he also paints, performs music, and helms children's creative arts programs.
One of Arsia's most recent creative efforts is the illustrated children's book, Shahnameh for Kids.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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 allow the creation and 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.