Azi Amiri is Iranian Artist who lives and work in New York. She received her MFA as a studio artist at NYU. Her art has been exhibited in different galleries (New York, California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and Arizona) as well as Dubai and Iran. She was the invited speaker at ASU Museum in Phoenix, Arizona in September 2016.
Her works have been reviewed and recieved prizes in several national and international competitions including MOPCAP (2015). She was shortlisted as an Iranian emerging artist with the potential to make a significant impact in her field.
She is an art educator and has taught at different places including Metropolitan Museum of Art and NYU.
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.
Hesam Abedini is a graduate of the Tehran Music Conservatory and holds his B.A. in Music Composition with honors from University of California, San Diego. He is the founding member of the Sibarg Ensemble and the director of “From Isfahan to Irvine,” which is a documentary granted by the National Endowment for the Arts. Hesam is the recipient of Farrell prize, Turetzky Award, Stout Award, and Chancellors’ Awards at UC San Diego.
He received his diploma in piano performance and composition from the Tehran Music Conservatory and has also studied at the Yerevan Conservatory in Armenia for three years where he studied piano performance with Dr. George Sarajian. Since 2011, he has been researching classical Persian music theory and studying the Persian vocal repertoire under the direction and supervision of Dr. Hossein Omoumi, Maseeh Professor of Music at UC Irvine. He studied music composition with Dr. Lei Liang, Chinary Ung, Anthony Davis and improvisation with Mark Dresser. His compositions have been performed by various musicians and ensembles such as, selected members of the Atlas Ensemble, Del Sol Quartet, and Mark Dresser’s Bass Ensemble.
Recently, Hesam was admitted to pursue his Ph.D. in Integrated Composition, Improvisation and Technology at the University of California, Irvine where he has been awarded a Dean’s Fellowship from the Claire Trevor School of the Arts as well as a UC Irvine Diversity Recruitment Fellowship.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ramin Amir Arjomand is an Iranian-born composer, pianist, conductor, and teacher based in Brooklyn, New York.
His compositions draw on a diverse range of musical and intellectual interests, exhibiting a preference for polyphonic structure and emphasizing expression as conveyed through formal complexity. He has made music exploring uses of diatonic sets in non-tonal contexts, integrating formal and rhythmic principles of Persian poetry, inspired by Gregorian chants, Catholic texts and numerology, utilizing miniature as well as large scale forms, and, extensively, using pure improvisation as a means to achieve transcendence.
As a pianist whose long-form solo improvisational playing has been described as "grand, tectonic, torrential as the forces of nature unleashed, yet fully under control” (Nader Ardalan, award-winning architect), he appears frequently in New York City venues including The Stone, Issue Project Room, Miller Theatre, and Spectrum. His creative approach cultivates spontaneity and thrives on questioning the need for pre-conceived formal structures in performance. His electroacoustic music works primarily with recorded improvised sound material.
While a doctoral fellow at Columbia University, he was the director and conductor of the university's early music choir, Collegium Musicum. During this time he began to research the polyphonic technique of 15th century Flemish composers, whose music became the main focus of his concert repertoire with the Collegium. His interest in vocal music and in speech as music has led to a wide range of concert, electroacoustic and music theater works that experiment with the human voice in different ways. His work Alma Redemptoris mater for 12-part a cappella choir was awarded First Prize in the New York Virtuoso Singers Choral Composition Competition and was premiered in New York City with Harold Rosenbaum conducting.
He has worked extensively as a composer, pianist, lecturer, and musical adviser with the Barnard College Department of Dance. His approach to dance theater composition emphasizes contrapuntal relationships between sound and movement. He has worked to develop collaborative models in which composer and choreographer can trust one another to work freely and independently toward a common goal. His collaboration with choreographer Laveen Naidu, like arrows in the hand of a warrior, daybreak, was commissioned by the Barnard Dance Department and presented in Miller Theatre in New York City.
In 2014, he created the concert series Reinterpretations, fiscally sponsored by New York Foundation for the Arts. Events in the series take two formats: prepared presentation of classically-scored compositions, and performance of pure improvised music. The series incorporates a pedagogical-discussion element directed to the experiential presentation of key ideas and concepts that concern composers, examining their effect on classical composition and performance practice. A highly sought-after teacher, he is currently on faculty at Columbia University and the Steinhardt School at New York University.
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.
Parastoo Ahovan Is a sculptor and a performance artist who lives and works in New York City. She Studied MFA at Pratt Institute 2011-2012 and Graduated of MFA from Boston University 2014. She has exhibited her works in National Pavilion of Iran, Venice Biennial, Italy 2015-2016. Mykonos Biennial, Athens, Greece, 2015. Nave Gallery, Boston MA, August 2016. Imago Mundi art, International Kurdish group show, Italy, October 2016. Changsha International Sculpture Festivan, Chansha, China, September 2016 to October 2016. Santa Isabel de Hungaria, Sevilla, Spain 2012. LTMH Gallery, New York, NY 2011. 1st Tehran International Sculpture Symposium, Imam Ali Museum, Tehran, Iran – 2007. The 1st Sculpture Biennial for Urban Space, Barg Gallery, Tehran 2008. 16th International symposium of stone sculpture in Friuli Venezia Giuliareana Del Rojale, Italy 2013. 1st International Sculpture symposium of Uttarayan, Vadodara, India 2008.1st International Sculpture symposium of Akdeniz University, Antalya, Turkey 2007. Magic of Persia contemporary art prize, London, UK 2011. Commonwealth Gallery, Boston, MA 2013. She has her sculptures installed in urban space in Iran, Turkey, India, UAE, Italy and China.
Armin Amiri was born in Tehran, Iran. At the age of 13, his parents helped him to get from Iran to Turkey, where he was then smuggled to Austria. Here, young Armin became a refugee in a camp outside of the Vienna.
By the age of 18, Armin made it to San Francisco, where he attended ACT drama school. He then relocated to New York, where he began many new endeavors. He studied at the Actors Studio, taught drama, and began designing bars and restaurants in the city.
At present, Armin is living in Los Angeles, California. While continuing to act, he is producing a TV series with the Fisher Stevens company. He is also writing a book.
Roxanna ‘Roxy’ Azari is an Iranian-American spoken word poet, performer, and educator. Azari combines her passion of art and activism by leading nation-wide performances and poetry workshops for students to explore and utilize their voices. Much of her work on college campuses focuses on social justice issues such as intersectionality, gender, masculinity, race, Middle Eastern politics, colonialism, and privilege. Azari is a former NY Knicks Poetry Slam and Urban Word NYC Poetry Slam winner. Her NYC slam team went on to compete in the internationally acclaimed Brave New Voices competition. Azari has performed at the Nuyorican Poets Café, the Bowery Poetry club and Madison Square Garden. She has also appeared at universities such as: NYU, Columbia, Brown, Middlebury, Duke, and Emerson. She has been featured in two TV commercials and published in The New York Times, Elementz of Life, Rushlight, The Greater Boston Intercollegiate Poetry Festival, and the Youth Anthology: Connect. In 2010, Azari was awarded the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, which enabled her to provide poetry and performance workshops with young women in the Middle East, Europe, North Africa and South-East Asia. As a Watson Fellow, Azari was a featured poet at Culture Rapide in Paris and held numerous performances in Morocco, India, Indonesia and Turkey. Holding a BA in English Literature: Creative Writing and Women’s Studies from Wheaton College (MA) and an MSc in Gender, Development and Globalization from the London School of Economics, Azari infuses her academic background with her visions of challenging social, political, and economic inequalities. In addition to her workshops and performances, Azari currently serves as an Instructor for the Women's and Gender department at Hunter College and an Associate for Hewlett Consulting Partners, a boutique advisory firm consulting on issues of diversity and inclusion.
Farhad Bahram’s work revolves around the idea of ‘affirmative destruction’ and negating the peripheral relationship between medium and message. In his works, destructed medium appears as a cultural object that is not self-sufficient or merely related to the archeology of its existence but rather to the contingency of its reception within the space.
Bahram unpacks his installations and performances through presenting texts that are impotent of conveying their intended message, destructed photos that are depleted from the iconic value of an image, and bodies that are unable to introduce the real identity of individuals. Within this destructive space lies an important and affirmative sentiment, which is the main objective in Bahram’s work: the possibility of relocating the meaning from within the art object to the contingencies of the reception process.
His work has been exhibited internationally in more than 30 shows and exhibitions, including Gowanus Loft, Yerba Buena Center For the Arts, Mission Cultural Center, Reed College, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Hult Center for the Performing Arts, Asian Resource Gallery, Umpqua Valley Arts Center, Siuslaw Public Library, Plâtre et Moi Gallery (Paris), Laatikkomo (Finland), Aaran Gallery (Tehran), Fravahr Art Gallery (Tehran), and Sazmanab Center for Contemporary Art (Tehran).
Bahram received an MFA in photography from the University of Oregon in 2015, and he is currently teaching art at the University of Oregon.
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.
Kamyar Arsani is a multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter born and raised in Tehran, Iran. Kamyar's musical mission is to spread cultural awareness and unity by mixing contemporary musical trends with traditional Persian folk music.
At age 7, Kamyar began daf (Persian frame drum) lessons with Master Bijan Kamkar. Kamyar also spent time playing meditative rhythms for hours at a time for Sufis. Kamyar has spent over 20 years performing and researching the daf and its roots. His second choice of instrument was the kamancheh (Persian string bow instrument) and he studied it with Masters Ardeshir Kamkar and Sohrab Pournazeri. Kamyar has also taught himself how to play other instruments including guitar, a variety of percussion instruments, melodica, ukulele and more.
Less than ten years ago, Kamyar and his family migrated to the United States around the same time that Iran's Green Revolution was occurring. Kamyar's songs and performances are very much inspired by the people of Iran and their history of struggle and protest.
He produced his first solo album in 2015, entitled "No Freedom." The album was dedicated to those oppressed by societies all around the world. (See https://kamyararsani.bandcamp.com/releases.)
Kamyar also plays in two other collaborations: "Huda & Kamyar," a daf and oud Duo, and "Time is Fire," a weird world/post-punk band.
Huda & Kamyar is a project between Palestinian oud player Huda Asfour and Kamyar on the daf. They tour locally with the goal of bringing middle eastern traditional and contemporary music to broader audiences. (See https://youtu.be/6xYHtZvVF5o.)
Kamyar is also the poet and singer of "Time is Fire (TiF)." Their music has been described by Washington Post as "Music from a country that does not exist." (https://www.washingtonpost.com/goingoutguide/music/time-is-fires-music-from-a-country-that-doesnt-exist/2016/04/07/04191966-f752-11e5-9804-537defcc3cf6_story.html)
Kamyar takes on a different character performing with Time is Fire, wearing his sikke (a Sufi hat representing the "tombstone of Ego") and singing poems of resistance and freedom in English and Farsi. Within the four member band's worldly, funky, post-punky, afro-infected music, the sikke and poems make perfect sense. Their sound has been evolving since the group first came together in 2015. Washington City Paper: "Time Is Fire could have limitless places to go." Time is Fire recently released an EP that can be found here: https://electriccowbellrecords.bandcamp.com/album/angels.
Born in 1981 in Tehran, Iran, Aminikia studied music composition in Russia at the St. Petersburg State Conservatory under Boris Ivanovich Tishchenko, a post-graduate student of Dimitri Shostakovich. In his homeland, Aminikia studied under Iranian pianists Nikan Milani, Safa Shahidi and Gagik Babayan. He was perhaps most influenced by work with his first teacher and composer , Mehran Rouhani, a post-graduate of Royal Academy of Music and a former student of Sir Michael Tippett.
He received his Bachelor of Music and his Master of Music with honors from San Francisco Conservatory of Music under Dan Becker, David Garner and David Conte where he was the proud recipient of Phyllis Wattis Foundation scholarship. He has also received lessons from Conrad Susa, Richard Danielpour, John Corigliano, Oswaldo Golijov and John Adams. Aminikia is currently a faculty member at San Francisco Academy of Art University while maintaining his career as a freelance composer.
He is the recipient of many various commissions from theatre troops to contemporary classical ensembles, film scores, Persian traditional music groups to jazz bands including Kronos Quartet, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Symphony Parnassus, San Francisco Conservatory of Music New Music Ensemble, Mobius Trio, Delphi Trio and Living Earth Show.
His third string quartet,"A Threnody for Those Who Remain", commissioned by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Kronos Performing Arts Association was described by Financial Times as “An experience not to be easily forgotten”.
His music has been widely performed in United States, Canada, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Ecuador, France, Italy, Poland, China, Greece, Turkey and Israel and at venues such Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Le Poisson Rouge, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, SF Exploratorium, SFJazz and Saint Anne's Warehouse.
His “Tar o Pood” (Warp and Weft) (2014) commissioned by Nasrin Marzban for Kronos Quartet was the second place recipient of the American Prize 2015 in composition, professional chamber music category. He was recently the artist-in-residence at Kronos Festival 2017, an annual festival held by legendary Kronos Quaretet at San Francisco SFJAZZ throughout which ten of his works including four new pieces were performed. His most recent piece for the same festival, was a collaboration between Kronos Quartet, San Francisco Girls Chorus and Afghanistan National Institute of Music which resulted in a 20-minute choral piece named "Music of Spheres". Aminikia was called by SF Chronicle, “an artist singularly equipped to provide a soundtrack to these unsettling times".
Born in 1982 in Shiraz, Iran and currently living in Rochester, NY, award winning director and animator, Meghdad Asadi Lari started his higher education in 2000 by studying Electrical Engineering at Shiraz University, where he continued to a M.Sc. in Communications Engineering.
Not long after completing his technical degrees, Meghdad decided to step into the art field as a creative professional and pursue his passion of animation and film.
Meghdad started his MFA degree in Computer Animation at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and directed and produced several animated films which played at more than 100 festivals worldwide and gained several national and international awards.
Meghdad’s artistic, creative and technical abilities have been recognized as adept and transformational across the international landscape both by academia and those within the animation industry.
is works has been part of numerous exhibitions, festivals, and workshops including the Walt Disney Family Museum, the Hamburg Museum for Art and Design (MK&G), and the Student Academy Awards.
Meghdad is a Visiting Assistant Professor at RIT’s School of Design and is currently involved with directing and producing a variety of animated short films. He is also collaborating with several educational and animation projects where he offers his technical and artistic skills to studios in the United Stated and around the globe.
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.
Mahnaz Badihian is a poet, painter, and translator whose work has been published into several languages worldwide. Her work has appeared in many literary magazine and anthologies. She won an award for a selection of her poetry (XIV Premio Letterario Internazionale Trofeo Penna d’Autore, Tornio) translated into Italian by Cristina Contili and Pirooz Ebrahimi. She also presented a paper on erotic literature by Iranian women in the Diaspora at the American Comparative Literature Association's 2008 annual conference.
Mahnaz was a resident artist in Camac, France in 2011. She was invited In summer 2013 to participate in the World Festival of Poetry, joining poets from around the world in Peru and Bolivia.
She received her MFA in poetry from Pacific University. An anthology of protest poetry by young poets in Iran (translated by Mahnaz and edited by San Francisco's beloved poet Jack Hirschman) called “Saplings Arise” was published in summer 2013 in San Francisco. Mahnaz is an active member of the RPB (Revolutionary Poet Brigade) of San Francisco.
Mahnaz Badihian was a guest speaker at AWP 2014, an annual conference and book fair in Seattle.
In 2015 Celia Hirschman produced a CD of Rumi poems, "Like This," read in Farsi by Mahnaz and in English by Jack Hirschman.
Mahnaz's solo art exhibit will be in San Francisco in the fall of 2017.
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.
San Francisco-based producer and long time dance music veteran, Behrouz Nazari is difficult to label as he reflects the music he creates and spins. "My sound is impossible to categorize, but if I were to give it my best shot, I would describe it as a myriad of different subgenres of music I have experimented with during my past 20 years of DJing. It’s mainly composed of sexy music incorporating the finer elements of my deep house roots, all the way to techno," Behrouz confesses. This being said, Behrouz has quickly become a highly respected DJ, recognized worldwide for his groundbreaking headlining sets at venues such as Pacha in Ibiza and NY, Space in Ibiza, Warung in Brazil, and Stereo in Montreal. Through his highly-acclaimed productions, CD compilations, and award nominations Behrouz has discovered the recipe to success that has allowed him to become a well-known name in the realm of superstar DJs.
Embarking on world tours and playing long sets eventually led to the creation of the Pure Behrouz concept that has taken Behrouz's signature sound to a new level. The whole meaning or direction of the Pure Behrouz night starts with Behrouz playing from open to close, taking his audience on that famous journey of different genres of music, which only a select few can dare to embark upon. As many can attest to, the Pure Behrouz nights have been compared to listening to four separate DJs playing in a club, all in one night. In this day and age where most DJs can play no more than a standard two hour set on their laptop, with Pure Behrouz, you get a pure journey of music, not on a laptop, but through love, vinyls that are handpicked by Behrouz himself, and upfront music that most likely you may never get the chance to hear from another DJ.
Step into the world of Behrouz!
Shaghayegh Cyrous is a San Francisco-based interdisciplinary and social practice artist and activist. She was born in 1987 in Tehran, Iran and moved to San Francisco in 2012. She has widely exhibited and presented her work in different venues such as the British Museum in London, Tehran Contemporary Museum of Art, Minnesota Street Project, Alcatraz Island in San Francisco, the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, Open Engagement in Chicago, and Kulturcentrum Ronneby Konsthall in Sweden. Cyrous’s works deal with communication and translation caused by worldwide cultural and political circumstances. She uses interactive strategies such as participatory engagement projects, performances, video, installations, and video chats to create poetic spaces and opportunities for connections. She graduated with a Master of Fine Arts Social Practice from California College of the Arts.
Iranian-born artist Afsaneh Djabbari-Aslani attended USC’s Roski School of Fine Arts at the onset of the Iranian revolution. The upheaval in her native country culminating with the US embassy hostage crisis dramatically transformed her world and had significant influence on her artistic work.
After earning her BFA, she moved to New York City in 1983 and attempted to survive as an artist. However, after struggling on limited income, she started working at the United Nations Development Program in the Public Affairs Division. Her experience at UNDP allowed her to learn more about the plight of third world countries. While working full time, she earned her Master's Degree from NYU’s Robert Wagner School of Public Service. Her painting "Working Towards a Brighter World" was published as a holiday card and sent out worldwide in 1989. In 1991 she started working for Barnard College in the Financial Aid and Higher Education Opportunity Program, where she got insight into the hard work that takes place to make affordable education available to all.
With the birth of her second child, she moved to the suburbs and became an active volunteer in the community, serving as an art history teacher in the public school system. As a volunteer art history teacher she reconnected with her passion for the arts and started painting full time again in 2009 while raising her three children.
Mazzi is a part of a group called S.O.U.L. (Sense Of Understanding Life’s) Purpose.
The group is from Jersey City, New Jersey. Mazzi says that S.O.U.L. Purpose is "the biggest crew in Hip Hop for the simple fact that if you helped the music to prosper in any way, you are part of the S.O.U.L. Purpose collective."
Mazzi: "Whether you bought my CD/vinyl, came to any of my shows, made me a beat, engineered a session, collaborated with me, did cuts for me, gave me airtime, played my music on the radio, played my music in a club, put my music on a mixtape, interviewed me for a magazine/newsletter, gave me online promo and support, charted my music, put me on a bill to perform, promoted my shows, allowed me to rock venues, danced for me at shows, filmed at shows, took pics, passed out flyers for me, put up a poster for me, sponsored me in any way, lent me money to further my project, gave me words of encouragement, inspired me, fed me, drove me, or supported my music in any other possible aspect, you are a member of S.O.U.L. Purpose! I appreciate it."
Mazzi has done shows opened for/done shows with artists such as Eminem, G-Unit, Black Eyed Peas, Big Pun, RUN DMC, The Lox, Ludacris, Ghostface, D12, Mos Def, M.O.P., Capone, NORE, Xzibit, Common, Slick Rick, Flava Flav, Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, Jin, Keith Murray, Kool G. Rap, Cannibus, Nice & Smooth, The Beatnuts, Drez of Black Sheep, Gang Starr, Black Moon, Gza, Inspecta Deck, Masta Killa, Freddy Foxxx, O.G.C., Immortal Technique, Faith Evans, Jurrasic 5, Nina Skye, Angie Martinez, Erykah Badu, Big Daddy Kane, Rob Bass, Sean Price, Chino XL, Luv Bug Starski, Smiff ‘n Wesson, Dialated Peoples, Mums from Oz(HBO), Suheir Hamad & Lemon from Def Poetry Jam (HBO), Souls of Mischief, High & Mighty, L.A. Symphony, Doug E. Fresh, Soul Sonic Force, Aceyalone, Murs, Jean Grae, Cold Crush Brothers, Show Biz & A.G., The Arsonists, PumpkinHead, The Juuggaknots, C-Rayz Wallz, Last Emperor, Aesop Rock, Jedi Mind Tricks, Non Phixion, Necro, Super Natural, Swiss Chris, Brother Ali, Wordsworth, G.C. & Soul Mafia, Scram Jones, Agallah, Craig G., Meek Mill, 2 Chainz, Asher Roth, Vado, Gun Play, Stalley, Atmosphere, Blackalicious, and Rahzel.
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 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.
Roya Bahrami: Founder of Roya Multicultural Ensemble, Music Director, Composer, Arranger, Lyricist, Santur, Vocals
2016 recipient of the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities' (DC Arts) Artist Fellowship grant; 2014 recipient of the DC Arts' City Arts Project grant for "Innovation in World Music & Dance"; 2012 recipient of the DC Arts' Individual Artist grant for creating "Cultural Dialogue through Music"; and 2009 recipient of DC Arts' Folk Arts grant for creating and presenting "Understanding Multicultural Identity through Artistic Expression."
Roya Bahrami, a native of Iran who migrated to the U.S. as a teenager, holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from University of Maryland and worked as a telecommunications professional for many years before dedicating herself full-time starting in July of 2004 to what had been a part-time career in music. Roya has studied Persian classical music with such masters as M.R. Lotfi, Hossein Alizadeh, and Dariush Talai. She has also studied Western classical music and Spanish flamenco resulting in a natural blend of these traditions in her compositions. She has completed a certification program at Berklee College of Music with concentration on Music Production, Music Publication, Arrangement, and Orchestration.
Roya has developed and offers lecture-performance programs on topics such as: “Music and Spirituality,” and “Traces of Persian Music in Andalusia”. Her solo and educational performance credits include National Gallery of Art, Library of Congress, Rumi Forum, American University, Maryland University, World Cimbalom Congress: 2009 in Mexico, 2011 in Hungary, 2017 in Slovakia, Hackbrett Festival in Austria (2013). She accompanied the flamenco dancer Carmela Greco on her U. S. tour and has performed on Spain’s national TV as well as at the Museum of Flamenco Dance in Seville. Roya has been interviewed and her music has been featured on Voice Of America and BBC in several broadcasts to millions of Persian speaking viewers and listeners in Iran and all over the world.
In 2007, Roya formed her multicultural ensemble in order to realize her original compositions in which the mysticism of Persian melodies and poetry blend with Spanish flamenco, resulting in an 'innovative fusion with seductive sounds' as dubbed by the Smithsonian Institutes. Since then, the ensemble has grown organically along with the multicultural elements growing naturally into Roya’s compositions to include influences of jazz and tango traditions. Her ensemble includes master musicians in each of these traditions: flamenco guitarist Ricardo Marlow, jazz bass clarinetist Denis Malloy, Argentinean bandoneonist Emmanuel Trifilio, world percussionist Jon Seligman as well as flamenco dancer choreographer Anna Menendez. Roya Ensemble performance credits include: President Obama’s Inaugural celebratory concerts at the Smithsonian Institution, and various performances at GALA Theatre, The Mansion at Strathmore, Gettysburg World Heritage Festival, Shepherd University, Amnesty International’s Human Rights Arts Festival, Washington Folk Festival, University of Memphis, University of Maryland, University of Mary Washington, DC LIVE! Summer Series, Reston Multicultural Festival, DC Green Festival, American University, Towson University.
Reza Alhosseini received his MFA from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco in 2015.
Since 2003 his paintings have been included in numerous solo and group shows worldwide.
He was accepted for the Annual Homa Art Gallery’s group show “Selected of the New Generation” in 2006 and the 18th annual “New Generations” group show at the de Young Museum in San Francisco in 2014.
He has been accepted to the California Art Club (CAC), Oil Painters of America (OPA), and Society of Iranian Painters (SIP).
Painting is a perennial search and exploration of Reza's everyday life.
He believes that there is an inseparable chain between concept and technique and they should correspond to each other in a harmonious way. For Reza, the process of creating paintings is a constant effort to find the clearest expression in his chosen medium.
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.
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.
For over 30 years guitarist, writer, engineer, mixer, producer, and programmer Amir Derakh has been known as one of the leading musical pioneers of the Los Angeles area. He was awarded the prestigious “Most Promising Guitarist” award by Gibson Guitars as a founding member, writer, and producer of the platinum selling band Orgy.
Amir is a fully qualified producer and engineer having earned his degree in Recording Engineering from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).
He is also responsible for the gold and platinum successes of many known artists such as the Eels (with whom he received an engineering Grammy nomination), Danzig, Coal Chamber, and most recently the eclectic Russian band Mumiy Troll.
To add to his many credits, Amir has also scored and created original music for many major motion pictures, video games, and television shows including Transformers, Underworld, Freaky Friday, Matt’s Chance, Beta Test, MTV, and the HBO series True Blood. He was also the guitar coach for Disney’s smash hit Freaky Friday, teaching Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis how to play guitar for their roles.
Amir’s recent personal projects as an artist include the indie-tronic band Julien-K (who’s last Indigogo campaign charted in the top 50 biggest music campaigns), Dead By Sunrise (featuring Chester Bennington of Linkin Park on vocals), and a reunited Rough Cutt.
Amir also runs a very successful electronic music label, Circuit Freq Records.