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

Afghan-American photographer Masood Kamandy’s “Matter Out of Place,” on view now at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles gallery. Read more at KCET:

"Once 9/11 happened I thought ‘Oh I have this part of me that I’ve never addressed’ and I want to go and explore and learn the language — well, learn it better," he says. "So I started a photography school in Kabul, at Kabul University 12 years ago, and in fact I went to Kabul last summer to teach a course. The project started in 2002 and lasted until 2005, when the department was established." 
…
Though deeply vocal of his love of Kabul and its culture, he clarifies that he resolved to divide his social practice and art practice in order to avoid potentially commodifying his heritage and his experience. “I thought about becoming a war photographer at first,” he says, “I was just starting photo school when September 11th happened and I seriously considered changing my entire life to illuminate what was happening in the world and war zones.” But after visiting and photographing family members, he says he changed his hind. “I made a very conscious decision to not make work there and to actually take all the energy that I could spend there and put it toward education there.”

Afghan-American photographer Masood Kamandy’s “Matter Out of Place,” on view now at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles gallery. Read more at KCET:

"Once 9/11 happened I thought ‘Oh I have this part of me that I’ve never addressed’ and I want to go and explore and learn the language — well, learn it better," he says. "So I started a photography school in Kabul, at Kabul University 12 years ago, and in fact I went to Kabul last summer to teach a course. The project started in 2002 and lasted until 2005, when the department was established." 

Though deeply vocal of his love of Kabul and its culture, he clarifies that he resolved to divide his social practice and art practice in order to avoid potentially commodifying his heritage and his experience. “I thought about becoming a war photographer at first,” he says, “I was just starting photo school when September 11th happened and I seriously considered changing my entire life to illuminate what was happening in the world and war zones.” But after visiting and photographing family members, he says he changed his hind. “I made a very conscious decision to not make work there and to actually take all the energy that I could spend there and put it toward education there.”

LONDON: Digital Revolution, Journalism, and Persian-Speaking News Consumers (Event)

A discussion panel and drinks reception with a live music performance by Iranian country and blues singer-songwriter Abdi Behranvanfar

The discussion is in Farsi but expert simultaneous translation will be available through headsets

Panelists:

Ali May, Broadcaster and award-winning writer (moderator)

Maziar Bahari, Journalist and filmmaker

Masih Alinejad, Journalist and writer

Kelly Niknejad, Editor-in-Chief at TehranBureau

On behalf of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, Small Media would like to invite you to join us for an innovative and interactive panel discussion on March 5th at the Free Word Centre in Farringdon.

The expert panel will discuss the topic ‘Digital Revolution, Journalism and Persian News Consumers’ as part of the Munk School’s “Iran and its Youth - a Series of Dialogues” program.

We have seen a revolution in all aspects of media in the past two decades. We started out with 24-hr rolling news networks like CNN, which already seem outmoded by the newer advances in digital technologies. Today, it is smartphones and social media that rule when consumers need to get their dose of daily or breaking news. On the 5th of March we bring together industry leaders to discuss some of the major issues related to digital journalism while trying to draw a comparison between the global trends and what is happening in the Farsi-speaking media, particularly inside Iran.

The panel discussion will be webcast live for an audience in Iran. All audience members, including those present at the Free Word Center, will be able to ask questions of the panelists via online means, so don’t forget your smartphones!

Admission is free, but you need to reserve your attendance in advance, so please register here!

The trailer for “Illusions & Mirrors,” a short film directed by Shirin Neshat, starring Natalie Portman. From IMDB:

Every year the Viennale invites a famous director to produce a short film as the festival trailer. In 2013 the choice has fallen on Iranian-American artist Shirin Neshat, world-renowned for her installations and photos. Neshat’s work ILLUSIONS & MIRRORS, circa two minutes long, was created as part of a larger project, a half-feature-length experimental film, which she will be shooting in the coming weeks with the support of Dior.

TORONTO: ‘Jik jik mastoon’ is the first annual Spring Equinox celebration by a group of Toronto-based Iranian artists, makers, designers, and friends called ‘bachehaye famil’, and will be held on Saturday March 15th. This is not your typical Norouz market, as we (bache-haye famil) came together to create a one-day sensory experience for you. This independently-run and family-friendly festival will feature 12 straight hours of live music, performances, screening, story-telling, Norouz market, fun workshops, games, and feasts of fresh food and drink.

Trailer for "Falling Leaves (Barg Rizan),”the debut feature film by Ali Jaberansari. It was shot in Iran with post-production in London, UK completed June, 2013. Screening today in London. h/t SixPillars

The plot of Falling Leaves sees Amir try to convince his son in California to leave his American girlfriend and return to Iran in order to save the traditional family business. But when Amir, who is clearly in the Autumn of his own life, meets a woman from his past, he is forced to rethink both his choices and priorities in life. The screening takes place on the evening of 24th February. Find out about tickets and more about the film here.

Contemporary Iranian Art: New Perspectives, the new book by Hamid Keshmirshekan. Out in March.

Renowned art historian Hamid Keshmirshekan explores contemporary art in Iran and considers the relationship between its cultural past, modernism, and the issue of contemporaneity with regard to cultural specificity.
Using over three hundred color illustrations, Keshmirshekan contends that the twentieth century is a crucial period in the culture and art of Iran—when the legacies of tradition and modernism were being critically reviewed and the artistic concerns were indivisible from ideological ones.

Hamid Keshmirshekan is an art historian, critic, visiting fellow at the faculty of Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford, and editor-in-chief of the bilingual quarterly Art Tomorrow.

Contemporary Iranian Art: New Perspectives, the new book by Hamid Keshmirshekan. Out in March.

Renowned art historian Hamid Keshmirshekan explores contemporary art in Iran and considers the relationship between its cultural past, modernism, and the issue of contemporaneity with regard to cultural specificity.

Using over three hundred color illustrations, Keshmirshekan contends that the twentieth century is a crucial period in the culture and art of Iran—when the legacies of tradition and modernism were being critically reviewed and the artistic concerns were indivisible from ideological ones.

Hamid Keshmirshekan is an art historian, critic, visiting fellow at the faculty of Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford, and editor-in-chief of the bilingual quarterly Art Tomorrow.

IRAN:RPM Vol. 2Collection of Kanoon’s Vinyl Record ProductionsLaunch and panel discussion - DUBAI, UAE IRAN:RPM is an ongoing project focused on Iranian vinyl record discography. The first edition, published in 2012, is a study on Iranian film soundtracks featuring a selection of vinyl covers from 1965-1974. Launching this March, the second edition is a survey of the activities of the Institute for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults (IIDCYA), also known as Kanoon.IIDCYA was founded in 1965 in response to the lack of leisure and recreational facilities available to the new generation in Iran. The institute offered a wide range of cultural and artistic activities focusing on the mental and cultural development of children and young adults. Through an archive compiled by Ali Bakhtiari, IRAN:RPM Vol. 2 presents the collaboration between Kanoon and some of Iran’s most prominent cultural practitioners in the fields of storytelling, poetry, puppetry, film and animation, music, and visual arts.20 MarchLaunch and book signingSalsali Private MuseumAl Serkal Avenue, Unit 14, Al Quoz 1, Street 8DUBAI22 March, 4-5pm Panel DiscussionArt Dubai - Modern TerraceMadinat JumeirahDUBAIIRAN:RPM is edited and compiled by Ali Bakhtiari in collaboration with StudioKargah, and is published by Magic of Persia.
In case you have a ton of cash burning a hole in your pocket and a free Sunday afternoon next week at UCLA, here’s an option for you: “Voice of the Persian Gulf: Maestro Shardad Rohani,” with the maestro’s orchestra in the US premiere of his Sinus Persicus Suite. I take from this flyer that this is a symphonic suite inspired by the Persian Gulf. It seems kind of like the “Is not Gulf, is Persian Gulf” billboard in a (probably very nice) symphonic suite… if that’s your kinda thing.
Contemporary Iranian-American Fiction: Five Women, Five Books — University of Pennsylvania, March 6, 2014. Featuring Anita Amirrezvani, Marjan Kamali, Persis Karim, Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet, and Porochista Khakpour. 

Contemporary Iranian-American Fiction: Five Women, Five Books — University of Pennsylvania, March 6, 2014. Featuring Anita Amirrezvani, Marjan Kamali, Persis Karim, Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet, and Porochista Khakpour. 

Iranian-American make-up artist Niki M’nray (right) photographed for Barney’s Brothers, Sisters, Sons & Daughters campaign, highlighting 17 transgender individuals and their stories. 
From Niki’s story:

I was born in Iran but I grew up in L.A. I knew I should be a girl when I was very little, but it seemed like such a far-fetched idea—it never occurred to me that I could actually ever change. It was easy for me to be bullied growing up. I had to be careful; I couldn’t give myself away. I started reading a lot of magazines. That’s when I discovered Tula, the famous transsexual model in London who’d been in James Bond movies and who was a real activist for transgender people. Reading about her was a revelation.

Iranian-American make-up artist Niki M’nray (right) photographed for Barney’s Brothers, Sisters, Sons & Daughters campaign, highlighting 17 transgender individuals and their stories. 

From Niki’s story:

I was born in Iran but I grew up in L.A. I knew I should be a girl when I was very little, but it seemed like such a far-fetched idea—it never occurred to me that I could actually ever change. It was easy for me to be bullied growing up. I had to be careful; I couldn’t give myself away. I started reading a lot of magazines. That’s when I discovered Tula, the famous transsexual model in London who’d been in James Bond movies and who was a real activist for transgender people. Reading about her was a revelation.

"Performing Iran" conference on contemporary Iranian theater and performance, at UC San Diego on February 22, 2014. Looks excellent!

"Portrait of Majid Naficy," a biographical sketch of the Iranian-American poet based in Los Angeles. (In Persian with English subtitles)

Ali Banisadr, Say My Name, 2013.
Don’t miss Ali Banisadr’s solo exhibition, MOTHERBOARD, at Sperone Westwater gallery in NYC from March 1 - April 19, 2014. Reception: Saturday, 1 March 2014, 6-8 pm

Banisadr’s epic canvases, such as Contact, 2013, like his smaller paintings, such as Reflektor, 2013, evidence the artist’s deliberate diffusion of focus. Banisadr’s paintings have no central point or protagonist, thereby avoiding hierarchy to create equilibrium. The large painting Motherboard, 2013, exemplifies this – the work’s four levels suggest earth, civilization, technology, and ether, each being of equal importance. Banisadr explains: “In Motherboard, just as in a computer central processing unit, every component has to function and be active in order for the entire unit to function.” Also significant here is the correlation of movement and sound.  For Banisadr, each color and shape has a sound-like quality which guides the artist in his composition.

Born in Tehran in 1976, Banisadr grew up during the Islamic revolution and the eight-year Iran-Iraq War. In 1988, he and his family left Iran, first to Turkey and then to 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. The artist’s work has been featured in recent group shows at the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (SMAK) in Ghent (2010), Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana in Turin (2012), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (2012), Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (2013), The Moving Museum in Dubai (2013) as well as in “Love Me/Love Me Not: Contemporary Art from Azerbaijan and Its Neighbors” at the 55th International Art Exhibition – Venice Biennale (2013). Banisadr’s works are in important public collections, including The British Museum, London; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Museum der Moderne, Salzburg.

 

Ali Banisadr, Say My Name, 2013.

Don’t miss Ali Banisadr’s solo exhibition, MOTHERBOARD, at Sperone Westwater gallery in NYC from March 1 - April 19, 2014. Reception: Saturday, 1 March 2014, 6-8 pm

Banisadr’s epic canvases, such as Contact, 2013, like his smaller paintings, such as Reflektor, 2013, evidence the artist’s deliberate diffusion of focus. Banisadr’s paintings have no central point or protagonist, thereby avoiding hierarchy to create equilibrium. The large painting Motherboard, 2013, exemplifies this – the work’s four levels suggest earth, civilization, technology, and ether, each being of equal importance. Banisadr explains: “In Motherboard, just as in a computer central processing unit, every component has to function and be active in order for the entire unit to function.” Also significant here is the correlation of movement and sound.  For Banisadr, each color and shape has a sound-like quality which guides the artist in his composition.

Born in Tehran in 1976, Banisadr grew up during the Islamic revolution and the eight-year Iran-Iraq War. In 1988, he and his family left Iran, first to Turkey and then to 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. The artist’s work has been featured in recent group shows at the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (SMAK) in Ghent (2010), Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana in Turin (2012), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (2012), Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (2013), The Moving Museum in Dubai (2013) as well as in “Love Me/Love Me Not: Contemporary Art from Azerbaijan and Its Neighbors” at the 55th International Art Exhibition – Venice Biennale (2013). Banisadr’s works are in important public collections, including The British Museum, London; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Museum der Moderne, Salzburg.

 

€˜The Colonel by the Iranian Writer Mahmoud Dowlatabadi

From the New York Times:

<nyt_text>

After being arrested in 1974 by the Savak, the shah’s secret police, the Iranian writer Mahmoud Dowlatabadi asked his interrogators just what crime he had committed. “None,” he recalled them responding, “but everyone we arrest seems to have copies of your novels, so that makes you provocative to revolutionaries.”

Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times

“I have been required to have lots of patience, perseverance and very few expectations from life.”   Mahmoud Dowlatabadi Iranian author

Since then Iran has, of course, experienced an Islamic revolution and three decades of theocratic rule, and Mr. Dowlatabadi, now 71, has gone on to write numerous other books, including “The Colonel,” which has just been published in the United States. But one thing remains unchanged: Those in power in Iran continue to regard him and his work as subversive.

“As a writer I embarked on a path of creating epic narratives of my country, which necessarily contain a lot of history which has not been written,” Mr. Dowlatabadi said, weighing his words carefully in an interview during a visit to New York this spring for the PEN World Voices Festival of international literature. “But in doing that I have been required to have lots of patience, perseverance and very few expectations from life.”

“The Colonel,” a novel about the 1979 revolution and its violent aftermath, is a case in point. The five children of the title character, an officer in the shah’s army, have all taken different political paths and paid a heavy price. The story unfolds on one rainy night as the colonel is trying to retrieve and bury the body of his youngest daughter, who has been tortured to death for handing out leaflets criticizing the new regime.

(Source: badesaba)