A collection of notes from the Iranian diaspora.
Arts, culture, community.

Oh how I miss the deliciousness featured here! The Star offers a look at our beloved Iranian Plaza in Toronto. 

Munchies Guide to food in Tehran, preview of a forthcoming episode from Vice. Gelareh clearly has the best job ever. 

SHIVA AHMADI VIDEO INSTALLATION AT ASIA SOCIETY (NYC)

From Leila Heller: 

Asia Society Museum has invited the artist Shiva Ahmadi to create a new work as part of its ongoing In Focus series. Ahmadi’s practice is informed by the tradition of miniature painting. Her jewel-like compositions feature allegorical narratives that serve as a critique of contemporary political conflicts and the abuses of power that accompany them. For this exhibition the artist will present Lotus, a new single-channel animation, commissioned by Asia Society and based on two traditional Buddhas from the Asia Society Museum Collection. This new work will be Ahmadi’s first significant animation to date and marks an important shift in her practice. The animation is based on the artist’s 2013 triptych painting Lotus. The artist appropriates the image of the Buddha as the representation of a wise, forgiving deity to illustrate the devolution of a pure and well-intentioned ruler into an irresponsible and corrupt despot under the influence of absolute power. Bombs, grenades, and other explosives evocative of the accessories of war slowly infiltrate the narrative, and serve as a metaphor for the volatile political atmosphere of our contemporary time. This narrative springs from the artist’s own experience of war, political corruption, and global instability, first encountered during her childhood in Iran in the 1970s and later as an adult in the 1990s.
 
Shiva Ahmadi was born in 1975 in Tehran, Iran, and currently lives and works in Northville, Michigan. She received a BA in painting from Azad University in 1998 and MFA degrees from Wayne State University in 2003 and the Cranbrook Academy of Arts in 2005. She also participated in a residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in 2003. Since then, the artist has been the subject of numerous solo and group exhibitions. Shiva Ahmadi: In Focus is Ahmadi’s first solo museum exhibition in New York.

In 'Manuscripts,' A Barred Filmmaker Considers Dissident Art

One to Follow: document IRAN

For the latest on Iranian photography, check out this great blog curated by talented Iranian American photographer Ramin Talaie. 

A pop-up Shahnameh? Yes! And a beautiful one at that. Support this innovative project at http://www.fictionvillestudio.com/shahnamehpopup/

Yellow Dog Days: How Four Iranian Musicians Lived—and Died—in Brooklyn

Another one from Nancy Jo; this time a full-length report on the tragic loss of several members of the Yellow Dogs. 



Burnt Generation
Contemporary Iranian Photograph10 April – 1 June 2014



Somerset House, London
Daily 10.00-18.00Terrace Rooms, South WingFree admission
To mark the arrival of the Persian New Year, Burnt Generation will present contemporary Iranian photography – the majority of which has not previously been seen outside of Iran – by eight highly original and intellectually engaged image makers.  The exhibition will offer a rare opportunity to move to a place beyond cliché; a moment to forget the stereotypical images of Iran and enter the worlds of the eight artists who have lived and worked there.  They include: Azadeh Akhlaghi; Gohar Dashti; Shadi Ghadirian; Babak Kazemi; Abbas Kowsari; Ali and Ramyar; Newsha Tavakolian; Sadegh Tirafkan.
As Martin Barnes, Senior Curator at the V&A, says “some of the most exciting photography being made today is coming from Iran” and the range will reflect reality for modern Iranian society, whether it be coping with the consequences of constant conflict to civilians caught in the middle, conforming to class ideals or colourful celebrations of Shiite rituals.
Burnt Generation will be produced by Candlestar with Somerset House.  A cultural consultancy based at Somerset House, Candlestar is a key contributor to the growing creative community of Somerset House.
Burnt Generation is curated by Candlestar Director, Fariba Farshad, who explains that her aim was not only to present work from as wide a perspective as possible but also to show work that takes a sideways look at both public and personal histories: “The selected artists work in various ways.  Some make documentary photography, others portraiture, others still fine art, conceptual work but their subjects are caught in the web of history be it personal, historical or geopolitical.

See more of Newsha Tavakolian’s series on view in this exhibition at The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2014/apr/06/newsha-tavakolian-photographs-iran-middle-class-youth-in-pictures

Burnt Generation

Contemporary Iranian Photograph10 April – 1 June 2014

Somerset House, London

Daily 10.00-18.00
Terrace Rooms, South Wing
Free admission

To mark the arrival of the Persian New Year, Burnt Generation will present contemporary Iranian photography – the majority of which has not previously been seen outside of Iran – by eight highly original and intellectually engaged image makers.  The exhibition will offer a rare opportunity to move to a place beyond cliché; a moment to forget the stereotypical images of Iran and enter the worlds of the eight artists who have lived and worked there.  They include: Azadeh Akhlaghi; Gohar Dashti; Shadi Ghadirian; Babak Kazemi; Abbas Kowsari; Ali and Ramyar; Newsha Tavakolian; Sadegh Tirafkan.

As Martin Barnes, Senior Curator at the V&A, says “some of the most exciting photography being made today is coming from Iran” and the range will reflect reality for modern Iranian society, whether it be coping with the consequences of constant conflict to civilians caught in the middle, conforming to class ideals or colourful celebrations of Shiite rituals.

Burnt Generation will be produced by Candlestar with Somerset House.  A cultural consultancy based at Somerset House, Candlestar is a key contributor to the growing creative community of Somerset House.

Burnt Generation is curated by Candlestar Director, Fariba Farshad, who explains that her aim was not only to present work from as wide a perspective as possible but also to show work that takes a sideways look at both public and personal histories: “The selected artists work in various ways.  Some make documentary photography, others portraiture, others still fine art, conceptual work but their subjects are caught in the web of history be it personal, historical or geopolitical.

See more of Newsha Tavakolian’s series on view in this exhibition at The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2014/apr/06/newsha-tavakolian-photographs-iran-middle-class-youth-in-pictures

“Your background, your culture is where your parents are from, from Iran,” Bozorginia said. “At the same time, you didn’t grow up in that country. You grew up here. You go to school with Americans. You grow up speaking English first. You feel a tie to Iran, but you feel that same exact tie to the United States. You support both countries, embrace both sides. You know both sets of people. When someone asks, ‘Take your pick,’ it’s like, ‘How could I?’”

—   Mahan Bozorginia on Iranian-American Steven Beitashour’s recent decision to join the Iranian soccer team for World Cup 2014, in the New York Times.

Steven Beitashour Will Represent His Parents’ Homeland at the 2014 World Cup

“Lauded American Iranian critic and novelist Khakpour writes another gripping tale that mixes myth and history. Based on Persian folklore, The Last Illusion is the story of a feral albino boy raised in Iran until age 10 by a deranged mother who keeps him in a cage and treats him like a bird. The boy, Zal, is discovered by his grown sister and passed off to a famous American child analyst, who adopts him, takes him to New York City, and sets out to help him integrate into society. Zal takes on the streets of New York, with its myriad characters, the same way a bird might cock its head at the strangeness of human behavior, but as he grows, he longs to be normal and must fight against his instincts to be “bird.” Khakpour’s writing walks a line between mythical and realistic, somehow melding the two seamlessly and keeping reality in sharp focus; the reader aches for Zal, who fumbles through life as neither completely bird nor completely human.”

—   Booklist pre-publication review of The Last Illusion, Porochista Khakpour's forthcoming novel. 
Check out Saveur Magazine's excellent Nowruz menu! Happy new year, indeed! Dolmeh, ghormeh sabzi, baghali ghatogh, salad shirazi, baklavah…nooshe jaan! 

Check out Saveur Magazine's excellent Nowruz menu! Happy new year, indeed! Dolmeh, ghormeh sabzi, baghali ghatogh, salad shirazi, baklavah…nooshe jaan! 

BERLIN CALLING TEHRAN - two evenings at the Maxim Gorky Studio R
Fr 21.02.2014 & Sa 22.03.2014 | 20:30
5 years after the Green Movement– Where are we now?Talks and reflections with three generations of the Iranian Diaspora
Five years after the Green Movement, which arose as opposition to the Iranian presidential election in 2009, we want to try to understand the sustainable impact, motivation and changes that emerged from this protest movement. Berlin Calling Teheran wants to reveal in which social and artistic spheres this resistance movement has established a presence and which aesthetic and social strategies and practices have consequentially evolved.  
More info at: http://english.gorki.de/programme/berlin-calling-teheran/708/

Norooz 101 - An Illustrated Guide to the Persian New Year

It’s that time of year again! For Iranians, Afghans, Tajiks, Kurds, and so many others, the next two weeks will be full of celebrating and fun, observing old traditions and making new ones of our own. Share the Persian New Year with this excellent primer from Fig and Quince — it’s not just about haft-seens and fire-jumping, but a whole constellation of traditions (new and old, here and there) that make this time of year so special!

Happy Spring, everyone!

Zacon - Ra'na

Surely you’ve heard (and memorized, and danced to, and sang, and dreamt about) Rastak’s “Rana”? But now check out this version of the song by Zacon. Chopped, screwed, and I don’t know what else.