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.
Morehshin Allahyari is a media artist, activist, educator, and curator. Her work extensively deals with political, social, and cultural contradictions we face every day, documenting personal and collective struggles humans face in this century. Allahyari’s Material Speculation: ISIS, a digital fabrication project by that inspects petropolitical and poetic relationships between 3D printing, oil, techno-capitalism and jihadism, reconstructs artifacts destroyed by ISIS in 2015. The project has achieved wide acclaim for proposing 3D printing technology as a tool both for resistance and documentation. Allahyari’s work has been part of numerous exhibitions, festivals, and workshops including Museum of Contemporary Art in Montreal, Pori Museum, Dallas Museum of Art, Museo Ex-Teresa Arte Actual, Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston, Museum für Angewandte Kunst, and Material Mexico City.
Born in Tehran in 1976, Ali Banisadr grew up during the Islamic revolution and the eight-year Iran-Iraq War. In 1988, he and his family left Iran, first for Turkey and then for California. In 2000, he moved to New York City, where he currently lives and works. He received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2005 and his MFA from the New York Academy of Art in 2007. Since his first solo exhibition in 2008, Banisadr has exhibited in the United States and abroad.
Banisadr’s works are in important public collections at venues including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), Museum der Moderne (Salzburg), and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Born in Tehran, Iran, Khorramian lives and works in upstate New York. She studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and received her undergraduate degree at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. She earned her MFA at Columbia University in New York. Khorramian has exhibited internationally, participating in shows at MASS MOCA, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Art Basel Statements in Switzerland, Ballroom Marfa in Texas, the Istanbul Museum of Art, the Sundance Film festival, the Midnight Moment in Times Square and the Queensland Art Gallery in Australia. In 2013, she published her first limited edition artist book, Include Amplified Toilet Water.
Maryam Javaheri was born in Tehran and received her Fine Arts degree from Tehran University. After some advanced study in Europe, she continued her fine arts education at New York University and the Art Students League in New York in the early 1960s. Independently, she has worked under the tutorledge of prominent American painters Ad Reinhardt, Adolf Gottlieb, and Will Barnett. She has won several awards, and has had numerous single and group shows in the United States and Iran. She has also participated in a few international exhibitions. Her works include painting, collage, and sculpture (both freestanding and wall-hung). Maryam's style is non-objective, using strong, simple colors and forms to create each composition. Her work has been reviewed by renowned art historians and journalists.
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.
Inspired by the displacement she felt while growing up in Tehran, Golnar Adili constructs photographs, collages, and assemblages that explore the longing she felt growing up between Iran and the US, always missing a place or a person. Stacking photographs with beeswax paper, she creates intricate collages that physically convey the notion of layers of meaning. Some of the venues where Adili has shown her work include Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles, International Print Center, Brooklyn Arts Council, and the Lower East Side Printshop, all in New York. Some of the grants she has received include the Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, a 2009 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Printmaking/Drawing/Artists Books, the Puffin Foundation Grant, and the Urban Artist Initiative grant.
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.
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.
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.
Sara Madandar is a US-based artist from Iran. She received her MFA from the University of Texas at Austin and her BA in painting from Art and Architecture Azad University of Tehran. She currently works in painting, sculpture, video, and performance. Her work is often about the relationship of humans to their bodies and covers. Her most recent accolade was an award from the Texas Visual Artists Association (TVAA) in their 2016 exhibition in Dallas. Sara’s work has been featured in three solo shows in Austin, at venues such as Co-Lab, Mom Gallery, and Courtyard Gallery. Some of her work was also featured in Austin City Hall as part of the 2016 People’s Gallery.
Erfan was raised in a family that highly values poetry and literature. From a young age, he began to appreciate the literary arts, and he was soon engulfed in philosophical, political, cultural, and religious studies. This exposure eventually led Erfan to embark on his own journey to becoming a modern-day Persian poet. Although he had never lost sight of his heritage, continuing to study Persian greats from the past, Erfan was also fascinated by the western art forms of hip-hop, rap, rock, and alternative music.
In 2007, at the age of 23, Erfan released his debut album, Az Khaaneh Taa Goor. By this time, Erfan had proved to be in touch with his generation—he offered a blunt and honest perspective on topics ranging from the everyday life of a transplanted immigrant to the suppressive regime in Iran.
Today, Erfan continues his musical journey. Along with his solo pursuits, Erfan is the founding member of Paydar, a grass-roots company formed to support and enrich the growth of its members while promoting true Persian hip-hop, rap, and R&B. Paydar boasts a talented cast of song writers, producers, designers, and marketing talent.
At the intersection of non-fiction filmmaking and experimental media art practices, Mozaffari's main interest is in creating poetic narratives that are candid and intimate portrayals of real-life subjects and experiences. She has exhibited widely in the U.S. and abroad, including Paris, Berlin, Madrid, Australia, Canada, Tehran, Poland, San Francisco, Switzerland, Sweden, Berlin, Norway, and New York. Originally from Tehran, Iran, Mozaffari received a Bachelor of Arts from San Francisco State University and a Master of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
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.
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. Nima performs under the name “Muhammad Seven."
Anousheh is known for her epic melodies. This Grammy-nominated Iranian-American songwriter has captivated audiences both overseas and in her hometown of Richmond, Virginia. She started writing at her piano as a young girl, but found a home in her first album, “Let the Ground Know Who’s Standing on Him” (2005).
Shortly after this release, Anousheh went outside of her genre through her-chart topping collaborations with two Iranian-American DJs, Deep Dish and DJ Sharam. She released her long-awaited full-length album, "Make Noise," in February 2015. Anousheh's latest singles, "Bones" and "Get To You" (2016) have received critical acclaim.
Toofun Golchin is a working composer and musician based out of Los Angeles. He is pursuing his interest in film scoring while studying at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Toofun graduated with his BFA at CalArts and is the lead composer and guitarist for the Middle-Eastern rock band Zaub. His musical interests include classical guitar, blues, and world fusion.
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.
Sanaz Mazinani is a contemporary artist who works primarily in photography, large-scale sculpture, and installations. Sanaz obtained her undergraduate degree in photography from the Ontario College of Art & Design. She received an MFA from Stanford University, where her research focused on the study of digital photographic propagation and its impact on representation and perception.
Mazinani has participated in worldwide exhibitions at venues including the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Emirates Financial Towers, Fotografie Forum, and Museum Bärengasse. She has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and the West Vancouver Museum. Sanaz's work is in private and public collections at the Canada Council Art Bank, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the San Francisco International Airport.
Mazinani’s artwork has been written about in Artforum, artnet News, Border Crossings, Canadian Art, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Washington Post, among other publications. She has recently received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the San Francisco Arts Commission, and the D.C. Commission on the Arts & Humanities.
Ghasem Ebrahimian is an award-winning ﬁlmmaker who came to the U.S. in 1974 to study cinema. He graduated from SUNY Purchase in 1979. His thesis ﬁlm, Willie, earned him a student Academy Award and was shown in festivals around the world and on Public Television’s Independent Focus. Ghasem formed EbraFilms with Coleen Higgins in 1980, and the company has produced over forty documentaries for Italian and French television, among other commercial productions.
His feature ﬁlm The Suitors, which he wrote and directed, was an ofﬁcial selection for Cannes Film Festival in 1988 and was nominated for Camera d’OR.
In 1997, Ghasem began his collaboration with Shirin Neshat on a number of ﬁlmed video Installations as director of photography and co-writer. In addition to this collaboration, Ghasem has worked on a number of documentaries. He has been a visiting faculty member at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, teaching a course on directing.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Born in Tehran, Iran, multidisciplinary artist Bahar Behbahani now lives in Brooklyn, New York. She received her BA and MA in painting in Tehran. Her work has been featured at many events and venues, including the 18th Biennale of Sydney, Australia, the Sharjah Biennial 10, the Prologue Exhibition for the 2016 Honolulu Biennial, the Queens Museum, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, MACRO, Museum of Contemporary Art in Italy, Mimara Museum, the Tribeca Film Festival, and the Asia Art Biennial, among others.
Bahar works in painting, video, and participatory performance. Her work addresses her long-term conceptual dialogue with memory and loss, representing her chronic displacement and longing.
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.
Neda Moridpour is a socially engaged feminist artist, advocate, educator, and co-founder of the two artist-activist collaboratives, [P]Art Collective (with Pouya Afshar) and 'LOUDER THAN WORDS' (with S.A. Bachman).
Moridpour approaches art as a social practice that crosses disciplines and boundaries in order to explore social issues and urban realities, to establish dialogue, and to mobilize communities. Her art transforms the seemingly quotidian and mundane via bold round-table talks, visual and performative interventions, prints and lens-based practices.
Born and raised in Iran, a strong awareness of gender discrimination, inequality, and censorship permeates her philosophy. She is a MFA graduate from the Public Practice Program, founded by Suzanne Lacy, at Otis College of Art and Design. Moridpour's work has been exhibited in the United States, Iran, and China. Her collaboration with A Window Between Worlds titled “I CAN WE CAN” engaged more than 20,000 participants globally and was exhibited at the Gallery Neuartig. In 2014, her work with LOUDER THAN WORDS examining domestic violence and sexual assault was honored by the Women’s Caucus for Art, and she is a 2014 award recipient from the Center for Cultural Innovation.
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.
Roshan Houshmand is an American artist who was raised in Iran and the Philippines. Her BA is from Bennington College and her MA and MFA are from Dominican University’s Rosary College Graduate School of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy. Roshan’s work is exhibited and collected in Europe and the US. She has received grants from organizations including NYSCA, the Michelle MacNaught Foundation, the O'Connor Foundation, NYFA and the US Department of State Art in Embassies Program. In 2015, her work was presented at Italia Docet/Laboratorium, a collateral event of the 56th International Venice Biennale at Palazzo Barbarigo in Venice, Italy. Other major collective exhibitions include “Totem” at the Boca Raton Museum of Art in Florida and “Evolving Perceptions” at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Roshan lives in Andes, NY and teaches painting and art appreciation at SUNY Delhi, NY. She is very active in community arts projects with local schools.
Amir H. Fallah is an artist living and working in Los Angeles, CA. Amir received his B.F.A. from The Maryland Institute College of Art and his M.F.A from UCLA in 2005. He has exhibited both nationally and internationally. Exhibits include shows at the Nerman Museum, Weatherspoon Art Museum, the Sharjah Biennial 2009, LA Louver, the Third Line, Gallery Wendi Norris, Charlie James Gallery, Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, 18th Street Art Center, Cherry And Martin, Frederieke Taylor Gallery, and Mary Goldman Gallery, among others.
Amir has been a visiting lecturer at a range of respected institutions, including Columbia College, USC, UCLA, Cleveland Institute of Art, California State University, University Of New Mexico, Otis College Of Art, and Maryland Institute College of Art.
Seyed Alavi's overall artistic methodology is highly site responsive and takes numerous physical and conceptual aspects of location into consideration. He is inspired by a whimsical, playful approach that is also informed by engaging philosophical and conceptual twists. Seyed believes that a playful context allows the viewer to befriend the artwork and have a comfortable and welcoming experience. He maintains that once this type of relationship has been established, the deeper, conceptual layers can then gradually reveal themselves over time through the process of reflection.
Laleh Mehran was born in Iran and relocated with her family to the United States at the start of the Iranian Islamic Revolution. For nearly 20 years, Mehran has been creating elaborate environments in digital and physical spaces. She is inspired by both Eastern and Western philosophical understandings and aesthetic sensibilities, where art and design are merged with digital technologies and physical materials. Focused on multifaceted intersections between politics, religion, and science in an era in which some speech is increasingly
censored (often with the most extreme consequences for the speaker), Mehran strives to call attention to the implicit connections between politics, religion, and science while raising the question of the viewer's relation to each of these fundamental systems. As a result, Mehran's artworks are a hybrid that acknowledges the distinct elements, creating an interplay of the philosophical as well as the digital to construct new spaces for critical thought, dialogue, and aesthetics.
Born and raised in Tehran, Iran, and living and working in San Francisco, Taraneh Hemami engages in diverse strategies including installation, object and media productions, and collective and participatory projects to explore themes of displacement, preservation, and representation. Examining the careful crafting of images as propagated for power and political gain, Taraneh’s recent handcrafted replications of historical archives serve as commemoratives to events, places, and people while commenting on tools of manipulation and persuasion used across nations and histories. Her collective and curatorial projects create connections through experimental projects between artists, writers, and scholars while promoting and provoking dialogue as part of their process and presentation. These works explore various topics, from martyrdom to reflections of the everyday.
Momeni was born in Isfahan, Iran and emigrated to the United States at the age of twelve. He studied Physics and Music at Swarthmore College and completed his doctoral degree in Music Composition, Improvisation, and Performance with Computers from the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies at UC Berkeley. He spent three years in Paris, where he collaborated with performers and researchers from La Kitchen, IRCAM, Sony CSL, and CIRM. Between 2007 and 2011, Momeni was an assistant professor in the department of art at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, where he directed the Spark Festival of Electronic Music and Art and founded the MAW, an urban projection collective. Momeni is currently an associate professor in the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University, where he directs CMU ArtFab.
Momeni’s current research interests include performative application of robotics, playful urban interventions, interactive projection performance, machine learning for artists and designers, interactive tools for storytelling and experiential learning, mobile and hybrid musical instruments, and the intersection of sound, music, and health.
Sara Meghdari was born and raised in the Islamic Republic by an American mother and an Iranian father. At the age of 17, she moved to the United States, along with her brother and sister, to pursue higher education. In 2016, Sara received her Master's in Fine Arts Photography and Video from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She is currently based in Brooklyn. Her work ranges in media, from photography and video to installation and social practice. Meghdari is driven by her bicultural background as an Iranian-American and her experience of living in a constant state of displacement. She says her work "is a reflection of culture as well as the self, creating a narrative by pursuing connection in an attempt to inspire social change.”
Asad Faulwell is an artist based in the Los Angeles area. He graduated from UCSB in 2005 before receiving his MFA from Claremont Graduate University in 2008. While at Claremont he was awarded a Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant. Asad's work is featured in many private and public collections, including the Oppenheimer Collection at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, the Rubell Collection in Miami, the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), and the Franks-Suss Collection in London. His work has been written about in ArtForum, the Huffington Post, Harper's Bazaar Art, the N.Y. Times, the L.A. Times, and L.A. Weekly. Asad is currently represented by the Kravets/Wehby Gallery in New York, the Bill Brady Gallery in Miami, and the Lawrie/Shabibi Gallery in Dubai.
Rodin Hamidi was born in 1983 in Tehran, Iran. He is an independent cinematographer, director, and fine art photographer based in New York City. Rodin holds a B.A. in Fine Arts Photography from Azad University of Arts in Tehran and a Bachelor of Honors in Film Production from Middlesex University. After moving to the States in 2011, he graduated with a degree in Advanced Cinematography from the New York Film Academy.
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.
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.
Anna Fahr is a multi-disciplinary artist, filmmaker, educator, and the founder of Sepasi Films (est. 2003), a production company dedicated to creating films with social impact that focus on the contemporary Middle East and its diaspora.
Anna's work has screened at dozens of international film festivals, she has been the recipient of numerous grants, and she has participated in conferences, panels, and pitching forums including the Talent Lab at the Toronto International Film Festival, the Tribeca All Access program at the Tribeca Film Festival and the Directors Across Borders program at the Yerevan International Film Festival.
Anna's latest narrative short, Transit Game, examines the refugee crisis in Lebanon against the backdrop of the Syrian war. This film has screened at over forty international festivals since premiering in the fall of 2014, winning prizes in Berlin, San Francisco, and Florence in addition to winning the Golden Sheaf Award for Best Drama at the Yorkton Film Festival in Canada.
Anna's first independent feature-length documentary, Khaneh Ma: These Places We Call Home (2006), examines questions of cultural identity and dual-nationality from the vantage point of three generations of Iranians living in Iran, Canada, and Germany. The film screened in international festivals worldwide and was theatrically released in Montreal.
Anna earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Production from Concordia University in Montreal, winning the Mel Hoppenheim Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film Production in 2003. She earned her Master’s in Film and Middle Eastern Studies from New York University in 2010.
Born in Ahwaz, Iran, Samira Abbassy moved to London as a child. After graduating in 1987 from Canterbury College of Art with a BA, with honours, in Fine Art/Painting, she began exhibiting in London. In 1988, Abbassy moved to New York City to help found the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Studio Program, where she currently has lifetime tenure and is a board member. Her work has shown internationally and has been acquired for private and public collections at many prestigious institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the British Museum, London. In April 2012, she was the artist in residence at the University of Virginia, and she has recently been nominated for the Jameel Prize.
Soudabeh Moradian was born in Tehran, Iran and graduated from the Tehran University of Art (School of Cinema & Theater) in 1996. She also received an MFA degree in Film and Video from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in 2015.
Soudabeh started her career in film-making, screenwriting, and editing in 1996. She has made many TV documentary series about Iranian rural women, and some independent documentaries about “war and madness" such as "Doomsday Machine," "Story Of The Land On Ashes," "Mahin," "Voices Against Them," and other narrative and documentary films like "The Leader of Caravan," "My Name Is Tomorrow," and "Les Chroniques d'iran." The subjects of her movies are mostly women, social issues, and the psychological impacts of war. A number of her movies have been in official selection at various international film festivals, and many have won awards.
Soudabeh immigrated to the United States in 2009 and continued her career as an Iranian-American filmmaker in the US. She made her first narrative feature length drama, Polaris, in 2015.
Amir Motlagh strives for an increasingly interdisciplinary approach at creating media and telling stories. He is a filmmaker by trade and practice, having written and directed over 15 narrative and non fiction projects that have screened all over the world, and experienced every form of distribution with.
He’s also experienced first hand the power of the internet when one of this early DIY short films spread virally before the term was popularized.
He received a BA in Psychology from UCLA, and an MFA in Production with an emphasis in Directing at Chapman University. He also spent time at the Stella Adler Academy in Hollywood.
He leads a lean media labs startup, ANIMALS, that creates content for motion pictures, television, the web, and the future (VR), with an emphasis on creativity and distinctiveness.
Born and raised in Iran, Aida lives and paints full-time in New York City. She has a Ph.D. in Environmental Psychology and a Master’s in Urban Planning, and was Teaching Assistant in mixed media at Art Students League of New York (2012-14). Aida's recent solo exhibitions include Transcendence (NYC, 2015) and Revelation (Los Angeles, 2013), and her recent group shows include States of Being in Abstract (NYC, 2016), Art Brief II: Iranian Contemporary North America (Santa Monica, 2016), and In the Abstract (Setauket, 2016). Aida has won many awards and accolades, including Artist in Residency at Stony Brook University in New York (2017), the Fantasy Fountain Fund Painting Fellowship in Paris, France (2014), and the Jeffery Berman Director’s Award in Mixed Media.
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.
Martin Amini was born and raised in Silver Spring, MD. Over the past 5 years, Martin has performed at comedy clubs and colleges across the country. He has opened for touring headliners like Trevor Noah, Jerrod Carmichael, and Jermaine Fowler. As an individual coming from an Iranian and Bolivian background, Martin focuses much of his stand-up on what it's like to grow up "mixed" in America. In the past year, Martin has appeared in the Washington Post, Complex Magazine, and Revolt TV.
ICY (born 1985) and SOT (born 1991) are stencil artists from Tabriz, Iran, currently residing in Brooklyn, New York. Since 2006, the two brothers have contributed to Iranian and international urban art culture through their striking stencil work that depicting human rights, ecological justice, social and political issues. Their work appears on walls and galleries throughout the Iran, USA, Germany, China, Norway, and globally.They transcend their histories of artistic and political censorship by using public art to envision a world freed from borders, war and gun violence.
Sahba Motallebi is a modern virtuoso of the tar and setar, an innovator in teaching Persian music. She has been recognized as the Best Tar Player at the Iranian Music Festival four years running, from 1995 to 1998. She was also awarded Best Tar Player at the Tehran Conservatory, Iran, for four years (from 1993 to 1996).
Music of Persia - Traditional Meets Contemporary
Sahba Motallebi is recognized internationally as a modern virtuoso of the tar and setar, two lute-like stringed instruments central to one of the world’s great musical traditions. She began studying music as a young girl in Sari, Northern Iran.
In 1993, at age 14, her talent garnered an invitation to study at the Tehran Conservatory of Music. She flourished, and was recognized as Best Tar Player at the Iranian Music Festival four years running (1995-1998). After graduating from the Conservatory in 1997, she co-founded the groundbreaking women’s music ensemble Chakaveh. In 1999 she joined the Iranian National Orchestra, beginning her career as an international performer. She left Iran in 2003 to pursue graduate studies, which were closed to her in her home country due to her Bahai’i faith.
For the past decade, Sahba has lived near Los Angeles, continuing to perform worldwide while releasing a series of noted books and ten recordings. She is recognized as an innovator in the teaching of Persian music. Her pioneering efforts putting instructional materials on the Internet and teaching students online have inspired something of a renaissance in the transmission of this ancient art form, reflecting her commitment to bringing music to the world.
For Sahba Motallebi Performance & Educational Workshop Bookings, contact Craig S. Hyman - Numinous Music @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photograph © Jack Vartoogian/Front Row Photos.
Farid Kia was born in Iran and moved to Los Angeles at the age of 12. He earned his degree in the field of Architectural Engineering from the University of Southern California. He currently resides and works in Venice, CA.
Farid Kia's passion for painting developed from a desire to immerse himself in the creative process through an abstract language. Lacking formal training in the fine arts, he began learning the language color by color, stroke by stroke, through extensive experimentation. His early works, primarily small scale portraits, were serendipitous expressions that emerged from thick layers of paint via rapid strokes of a knife. Kia's later art, comprised of larger scale portraits, became more intentional and controlled, more intensely focused on conveying the emotion lurking deep beneath the subject's surface expression.
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.
Johnny Azari is a musician, composer, song writer, record producer, and musician. Johnny was born in Shiraz, a city known for wine, poetry, opium, and revolution. At a year old, he was relocated to a city known as New York, a place noted for grit, madness, money, and proliferation. There he was raised. When Johnny isn't on tour, he lives in New Orleans writing and recording. These things have no influence on him whatsoever.
Johnny plays his own mutant form of the Mississippi Delta-Blues. His live shows blend music with storytelling and comedy. Azari has been on national tour since 2013 and he recorded his fourth LP, "Songs From A Motel Room," during his 2016 tour. Azari has scored film (“Illusions & Mirrors,” starring Natalie Portman) and served as guest lecturer and performer at Brown University. He has seen two of his videos, “Occupation Blues” and “Freedom Glory Be Our Name” gain viral success.
Justin Mashouf is a four-time Emmy winning filmmaker and artist living in Los Angeles, California. His 2008 feature documentary "Warring Factions" focuses on his journey to Iran to find break dancers and bridge the political rift between the US and Iran with hip hop and traditional Persian martial arts. The film has received over 20,000 digital downloads internationally and was nominated for Best Documentary and Best Original Story at the 2008 Noor Film Festival. Justin’s work editing specials for local Los Angeles news station KTLA 5 has earned him 4 Los Angeles Emmy Awards, a Golden Mic Award, and the Southern California Journalism Award.
Justin’s 2011 short, Spring Movements, is a dance film dedicated to the “Arab Spring” uprisings throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Spring Movements has had multiple international television broadcasts on the Al-Jazeera English program “Frames.” Justin's 2017 feature documentary The Honest Struggle is the story of a Muslim convert ex-offender and his journey re-entering society in Chicago after being incarcerated for over 25 years.
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.
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.
Gelare Khoshgozaran is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and translator working across the mediums of video, performance, installation, and writing. Born and raised in Tehran and living in Los Angeles, she envisions the city as an imaginary space between asylum as “the protection granted by a nation to someone who has left their native country as a political refugee” and the more dated meaning of the word, “an institution offering shelter and support to people who are mentally ill.” Gelare is the recipient of the 2015 California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artists, the 2015 Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant, and the 2016 Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant. She is the co-founder of contemptorary.
Kaveh N. Adel holds a doctorate degree in Dentistry from the University of Iowa, where he majored in Biochemistry and Studio Art. He has a private practice in Naperville and holds professional memberships in the ADA, ISDS, and CDS.
Born and raised in Iran, Kaveh is fluent in Persian. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1987. His passion for current events and cross cultural dialogue inspired him to draw cartoons about human rights, world politics, domestic politics, the environment, and pop culture. He is an associate member of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists. As a children’s book author and illustrator, he holds readings at local bookstores and elementary schools.
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.
Amy Khoshbin is an Iranian-American, Brooklyn-based artist merging performance, video, collage, costume and sound to examine our individual and collective compulsion to create, transform, and sometimes destroy the stories of who we are, who we think we are, and who we think we should be. She produces media and mythologies using humor and a handmade aesthetic to throw a counterpunch at the high-definition, profit-generating codes and signals that American audiences are trained and accustomed to consuming. She has shown her solo and collaborative work at venues such as Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Abrons Arts Center, Mana Contemporary, NURTUREart, National Sawdust, the Invisible Dog Arts Center, Dixon Place, the Stone, and festivals such as River to River, South by Southwest, and MakerFaire. She has received a Rema Hort Mann Artist Community Engagement Grant and is on Creative Capital's On Our Radar for her recent project, The Myth of Layla. Khoshbin has degrees in Film and Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and a master's degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University. She has collaborated with Laurie Anderson, Karen Finley, Tina Barney, and poets Anne Carson and Bob Currie, among others.
Leila Mesdaghi is an Iranian-American artist living in Fort Myers, Florida. She holds a BA in Law from Tehran-Shomal Azad University, Iran, and a BA in Arts from Florida Gulf Coast University. To her, making art is a combination of emotional experiences and social responsibilities. Mesdaghi seeks to connect with viewers in a visceral, evocative, emotional manner. She stands on uncomfortable grounds and touches on social and political issues like war in the Middle East, the negative reflections of social media in society, the housing crisis in the U.S, and the price and promise of progress. In addition to years of traditional painting, Leila has explored disciplines and mediums such as sculpture, printmaking, and installation. In her most recent works, she has been merging performance with video and photography, exploring the spaces between presence and absence.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Afruz Amighi (b. 1974 in Iran) is the inaugural recipient of the Jameel Prize for Middle Eastern Contemporary Art, awarded by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Raised in New York by Jewish and Zoroastrian parents, Afruz completed her BA in political science at Barnard College before going on to complete her MFA at New York University. Amighi has exhibited her work in the United States, London, and the Middle East. In 2011, she was granted the fellowship in sculpture by the New York Foundation for the Arts. In 2013, Amighi’s work was commissioned for the 55th Venice Biennale. Her work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Houston Museum of Fine Art, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and the Devi Foundation, among others. Amighi currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Brooklyn-based artist Andisheh Avini’s artistic practice includes painting, drawing, printmaking, and sculpture, often incorporating the traditional craft of marquetry. Avini explores the duality of his own identity by combining iconic Iranian images like Persian calligraphy, decorative peacock motifs, and political figures with occidental concepts of minimalism and abstraction. Avini’s approach speaks to a larger globalized society of nomads and dispersed individuals and reflects a contemporary multicultural experience to which many can relate.
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.
Amitis Motevalli was born in Iran and moved to the US in 1977, pre-revolution. She explores the cultural resistance and survival of people living in poverty, conflict, and war. Her experience as a working-class immigrant in Los Angeles is foundational to her drive for creating art that contests stereotypical beliefs about people living in diaspora. Through many mediums including sculpture, video, performance, and collaborative public art, her work juxtaposes iconography to reveal differences in cross-cultural understandings.
For her current project, Motevalli is working internationally with a diverse group of transnational Muslims in order to research the kinds of labor that people (across boundaries of class) endure to survive in everyday life. Amitis is particularly concerned with conducting workshops with Muslims who come from places of political and religious conflict and collaborating on public art projects with these individuals. She is invested in research, collaboration, and the potential of art to expand thought. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles, exhibiting art internationally as well as organizing to create an active and resistant cultural discourse through information exchange.
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.
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.
Payam Doostzadeh is an American-born musician living in Los Angeles. He is the bassist and keyboardist for the alternative rock band Young The Giant. The members of the band are all sons of immigrants or immigrants themselves, having met during high school in Irvine, CA. His parents were able to leave Iran right before the revolution in order to attend university in the US. Having a strong foundation in piano as a child, Payam continued his musical pursuits with violin and eventually landed on string bass and bass guitar.
After getting accepted to UCSD for bioengineering in 2008, he and the rest of his band took a leave of absence from college in order to pursue the band full time in hopes of landing a record deal. One year later, they signed to a major record label and have released three full length studio albums to date. Their newest album, Home of the Strange, touches on the immigrants story in the bizarre modern version of the American Dream.
Sherwin is a multi-dimensional artist living in Richmond, Virginia.
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.
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.
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.
Nina Ghanbarzadeh was born and raised in Tehran, Iran. She immigrated to the United States in 2001 and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a focus in painting, drawing and graphic design in 2013. She completed a two year Artist in Residency Program with RedLine Milwaukee in 2015.
Ghanbarzadeh has participated in a number of group shows in Wisconsin. She is the recipient of the Mary L. Nohl Suitcase Export Fund, Student Silver ADDY, and the Fredric R. Layton Foundations Scholarship. She is also a teaching artist and has been involved in many workshops, lectures, and presentations.
Recent focus in her work has been the intersection of text and image and the potential of using text to create movement and texture.
Ari Honarvar is the founder of Rumi With A View, dedicated to Rumi translation, performance, and visual poetry art. She blends Persian calligraphy and paintings to present Rumi’s poetry in new and evocative ways.
In her performances she collaborates with musicians and dancers of different cultures and presents a dynamic program including poems in Farsi and English, Rumi stories, and Ari’s own encounters with the soul-saving power of poetry. She has recently joined Musical Ambassadors of Peace to help build poetry and musical bridges across war torn borders.
Ari is a writer and speaker and her work has been featured at various universities, events, and on NPR, TV , Elephant Journal, Alternet, The Establishment, and the Huffington Post. Her oracle card set and book, Rumi's Gift is forthcoming in 2017 by Schiffer Publishing.
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.
Golié Miamee is an American born, Iranian-American artist. For Golie, art has always been a passion and her primary form of expression. Born in Michigan, her travel adventure started when she was just one month old with a trip to Iran where she spent the first 10 years of her life (and where she discovered her interest in art at the age of 8). Golié is now a world traveler who loves to photograph and capture her journeys. With a background in computer science, graphic design, and visual arts, Golie switched her focus to photography ten years ago.
Golié considers herself a visual artist rather than a traditional photographer. She uses a photograph as her canvas and digital editing as her main medium. Golié strives to let her audience see the world as she sees it through her lens, where every photo becomes a timeless capture of that specific scene. Her love of photography and her passion have together allowed Golié to capture memorable moments of nature, people, places, art, culture, and much more. Golié sees every photograph as an image that can come to life, and she hopes that each one gives her viewers the same bliss and enjoyment that she finds. She ventures to expand her work by visiting more destinations around the world while developing new media techniques.
Roya Amigh grew up with Persian mythology recounted by her uncle. Persian storytelling does not follow a linear structure; it is based on stories passed down from one person to another, where fiction and truth merge. The line of narration can go on and on, inevitably creating stories within stories and fictions within fictions. Roya says, “Echoing the natural distortions of memory, I create my own version of this mythology in my practice, featuring stories that happened to me or to the women I know.”
Amigh earned MFA degrees from the Central Azad University in Tehran in 2010 and Boston University in 2012. She was included in group shows at the Katonah Museum of Art, Macy Gallery at Columbia University, Sloane House Gallery in Boston, and Sherman Gallery at Boston University. She was artist-in-residence at the Art Omi (Ghent, NY), The Millay Colony For The Arts (Austerlitz, NY), and Vermont Studio Center. She will have several forthcoming shows for 2017 including a solo show at the FiveMyles Gallery in NYC and a group show at The Art Complex Museum in Duxbury, MA.
Katayoun is an Iranian-born ceramicist and sculptor. She belongs to the generation of Iranian women who experienced a childhood of wartime and an adolescence of social and political turmoil under the post-revolutionary regime. Drawing from her personal experiences, Katayoun examines different aspects of individual, cultural, and national identity. Her main source of inspiration comes from the simplest and earliest surviving man-made forms, iconic cultural images, and pre-historic artifacts. Her art explores the relationship between past and present, tradition and modernity, individual versus collective identity, as well as engaging a discourse about history and temporality.
Katayoun Amjadi is currently a teacher assistant and MFA candidate at the University of Minnesota. Her work has been exhibited in several group and solo exhibitions nationally and internationally, at the Minnesota Museum of American Arts, Weisman Art Museum, Instinct Art Gallery, The Soap Factory, Rochester Art Center, Beijing Film Academy, and 7Samar Gallery in Tehran.
An extraordinary artist, Lily Afshar has grounded her career on a strong foundation of excellent formal education, upon which she has built an exceptional record of innovative achievements. With a bachelor's degree from the Boston Conservatory, she earned her Master of Music at the New England Conservatory and went on to study at Florida State University, where she became the first woman in the world to be awarded the degree of Doctor of Music in guitar performance. She pursued greater proficiency with summer studies at the Banff Centre for Fine Arts and the Aspen Music Festival, advanced training at Gargnano, Italy, the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, and master classes with Andrés Segovia at the University of Southern California.
Since becoming a tenured professor and head of the guitar program at the University of Memphis Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music, Afshar has received the 2000 Eminent Faculty Award, and in 2011 she was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Boston Conservatory. She conducts master classes worldwide and has released six instructional DVDs. She also produced a DVD entitled “Virtuoso Guitar” featuring live performances and an interview with Mel Bay. As a performing guitarist, Lily has won a top prize in the Guitar Foundation of America Competition, Grand Prize in the Aspen Music Festival Guitar Competition, the Orville H. Gibson Award for Best Female Classical Guitarist, and a National Endowment for the Arts Recording Award, among others. She was also chosen as an “Artistic Ambassador” to Africa for the United States Information Agency.
With her passion for going beyond the traditional guitar repertoire, contemporary classical composers have sought after Lily for creative collaborations resulting in notable world premieres, including work with Carlo Domeniconi, John Baur, Reza Vali, Garry Eister, Gerard Drozd, Loris Chobanian, Arne Mellnas, Kamran Ince, Barbara Kolb, Marilyn Ziffrin, David Kechley, and Salvador Brotons. Most of these collaborations can be heard on Lily's seven CDs.
Afshar's Persian heritage has given rise to some of her greatest musical innovations. Born in Iran to a musical family, she has drawn from Persian and Azerbaijani folk music traditions to create arrangements of works for the classical guitar which are as rich and beautiful as a Persian miniature. She arranged for guitar and published Five Popular Persian Ballads with Mel Bay, and is presently creating a new collection of guitar arrangements of traditional Persian and Azerbaijani songs. She has also fascinated concert goers with occasional live performance on the seh- tar, a traditional Persian instrument which evolved over many centuries into the guitar.
A true citizen of the world, Afshar’s concert touring has taken her to solo, chamber music, and orchestral performance venues in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. From Wigmore Hall in London to the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, she has played before a wide range of audiences and learned to bridge gaps of culture and distance through her music.
Shirin Ehya is an Iranian-American designer who was raised between Iran and the States during their most turbulent period of relations. The pursuit to combine elements from both cultures influences her designs on a deep level.
From one side she is constantly drawn to understated simplicity, seen in the clean, spare shapes of her designs. The Persian elements blend subtly along the lines, in shimmering, intricate mirror work or delicate lattice patterns.
Shirin successfully launched her first collection, Isfahan during Design Days Dubai 2014. This collection was followed by other new collections and exhibitions around the world.
Ehya is currently based in California, where she also started an interior architecture and design firm. She is also working on a new furniture and accessories collection.
Roya Falahi is an artist who was born in Washington D.C., but she currently lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. Roya received her BA in Studio Art from UC Irvine and her MFA in Photography from UCLA in 2006. Her artwork has been included in several exhibitions. Roya has had solo shows at the Vincent Price Art Museum and the W. Keith and Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery at Cal Poly University in Pomona, CA.
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.
Sholeh Asgary is a visual and sound artist born in Tehran, Iran and raised on the West Coast. As an Iranian refugee, her work addresses the ways in which objects represent syntax and how disambiguation can actually break down language and history. Utilizing cross-sections between photography, painting, light, projection, and sound, Asgary creates sculpted environments that are lit much like objects to be photographed, leaving the mechanical trace of the camera to the viewer’s stance. Asgary received her MFA in studio art from Mills College in 2011 and her BA in studio art from San Francisco State University in 2006. A Tosa Studio Award nominee, her work has been shown in Montreal, New York, and the David Brower Center in the Bay Area. Sholeh has also been featured in shows by Jennifer Blessing, Lucinda Barnes, and Jasmine Moorhead.
Previously, Asgary was the director of the Project Room at Incline Gallery in San Francisco, CA, where she also curated shows and was a recipient of the Alternative Exposure Grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation in 2014. Currently, Sholeh is an adjunct professor in history of photography and studio arts. She is composing a compilation of sound and video to be released in the summer of 2017 for distribution and screening.
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.
K-von is a headlining comedian on the rise. The star of MTV's hit show "Disaster Date," he's also received rave reviews on NBC's "Last Comic Standing," SHOWTIME, CNN's "HLN," Good Morning America, BBC, and NPR to name a few. K-von recently anchored the hip news show "Top 30" on FOX and completed a much-loved TEDtalk which has gone viral online.
K-von's standup comedy career has taken him around the world several times performing in comedy clubs and theaters, as well as for colleges and large non-profit organizations. His style is versatile yet relatable with fun storytelling and high-energy performances about a variety of mainstream topics.
K-von is most excited about the project he recently completed. As writer/director of "NOWRUZ: Lost & Found," he invites you on a comedic Journey into the Persian New Year. In this 90-minute award winning documentary film, he hilariously retraces roots he never knew and discovers the dancing, food, clothing, and traditions involved in the Persian New Year.
If you want to talk style or you want career and lifestyle tips, think Keemia Ferasat. She is the founder of Style Salute, a mission-driven media and commerce brand described best as "The Huffington Post for the modern woman" (www.stylesalute.com). Style Salute is a new media and commerce startup that inspires confidence and creativity in women through inspirational and informative content across multiple platforms. The mission is to provide an online destination that will empower women to live more stylish, smarter, and independent lives. Ferasat began her career as the founder of KEEMIA, a line of high-end cocktail dresses, which sold to over 50 stores nationwide and online. The brand was featured in leading publications such as ELLE, Marie Claire, Brides, Daily Candy, InTouch, Lucky, and more.
Ferasat has her finger firmly on the pulse of today's changing media landscape— and she has a hunch that speaking personal style and personal beauty is what women are craving today. Keemia has always had an interest in the idea of helping women take ownership of their personal style, careers, and beauty routines and Style Salute, which launched in July 2016, is the culmination of that idea. For women of this generation, technology is enabling self-expression, but most importantly self-acceptance, in a tremendous, unprecedented way. Accordingly, Style Salute is the first part of the mission to really help women get the information that will help them live their lives more confidently.
Style Salute speaks to readers in an inclusive voice, with content that is contextually relevant, authentic and shoppable. All of the content on Style Salute is very inspiring. There is much utility in the products and tutorials presented, and each piece of content drives an immediate action, inspiring women to try, buy, or share. Looking forward, Keemia would like to see Style Salute re-invent the way women shop and consume content.
Keemia is an established figure in the Iranian-American community and she is also the Los Angeles chair of Persian Tech Entrepreneurs (www.wearepte.com).
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.
Sam Hale is a soulful Persian/American singer-songwriter residing in Los Angeles, California. He was born in Iran and moved to America at the age of seven. He's since dedicated his life to creating honest and relatable music.
Max Amini, born in Tucson, Arizona, was raised on the East Coast and graduated from UCLA’s school of Theater, Film, and Television in 2004. As an actor, Max has over 50 film and television credits including NBC’s Heroes, regular appearances on Comedy Central’s Mind of Mencia, and a leading role in the film Beyond Paradise.
While in college Max launched his stand-up comedy career. He quickly built a reputation as one of the fastest growing comedians in the Los Angeles comedy circuit. In 2006 the world famous Laugh Factory in Hollywood recognized Max’s brilliant performances, hard work, and dedication to his craft by naming him a resident comic. In 2009 Max was chosen as one of the finalists for NBC’s Diversity Showcase. He would later use this experience to develop a stand-up comedy tour in 2010 named “Exotic Imports” featuring second-generation Americans coming from diverse cultural backgrounds. His tour was very successful and sold out across the country.
Max is now headlining his own shows and has taken his tours internationally, selling out around the world in Canada, the UK, Australia, Germany, Dubai, Sweden, Kuala Lumpur, and more. Demanding to see Max in action, fans push Max to add additional shows on his world tours. While his international popularity grows, his online presence also persists with his YouTube channel garnering over 10 million views.
Through an array of eccentric impressions and novel story telling, Max expresses his comedy by delivering a strong message about family ties, cultural issues, and social topics. What really sets Max apart from most comedians is his uncanny ability to improvise and create on the spot. This makes him unique as an entertainer, and it is not uncommon for an audience member to sit through two Max Amini shows in one night, witnessing two totally different performances.
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.
Amir K has been entertaining audiences for nearly 10 years, performing live across the U.S. and on relevision. His fun, unique approach to storytelling brings audiences together through his improvisational talent, characters, and charisma. Born in Iran and raised in Southern California, Amir offers a unique point of view shaped by his multi-cultural upbringing.
Amir currently stars in the primetime CW reboot of MADtv and has been seen on Comedy Central, NBC's Last Comic Standing and MTV's Jerks with Cameras. Amir is best known for his stand-up comedy, but is also an accomplished actor. He won a SAG award for his role in the Oscar winning film Argo and recently starred in the FOX feature film The Pyramid opposite Denis O'Hare and Ashley Grace.
Amir can be seen live headlining comedy clubs and theaters all over the U.S. as well as internationally.
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.
Hannah Moghbel grew up as a German-Iranian immigrant in the Appalachian mountains of Pennsylvania. She earned her B.A. in Art Education from Shepherd University in 2007. Her work explores themes of lust and feminine identity through large scale representational paintings. She currently lives and works in Colorado Springs, CO.
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.
Terrifying, disturbing, beautiful, bold, bizarre, hilarious, and totally unique. Those are just a few words to help describe the indescribable music/noise that haunts the tracks of Leila Bela's latest improv experiment "Angra Manyu." A project named after the realm of the gods, this album has the touch of a god, or goddess in Leila's case. It is, to say the least, a blend of other worldly experiences all rolled into one shockingly innovative explosion of emotion.
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.
Mitra Jouhari is a writer/comedian who lives in Brooklyn. She currently writes for a new show on Comedy Central. Prior to that she was working at Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. She performs with the group Three Busy Debras, the Holy Fuck Comedy Hour, and Michael Jordan Steakhouse. She co-hosts the monthly shows "It's A Guy Thing" at Union Hall and "You Are Heard" at the Annoyance, as well as appearing in the plays "Groundhog Date," "Slice of Life", and "Three Busy Debras" at the Annoyance Theater. TV/Film Credits Include: The Big Sick, Friends From College, and Full Frontal, as well as videos for the New Yorker, IFC, Comedy Central, Above Average, Refinery29's RIOT, and more. Her writing has appeared in McSweeney's, Reality Beach, Splitsider, Flaunt Magazine, Rookie, and Reductress. She has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Brooklyn Comedy Festival, the NY Comedy Festival, and many more. Follow her on twitter @tweetrajouhari.