Archive Sections: letters | music | index | features | photos | arts/lit | satire Find Iranian singles today!
Art

Still decidedly Persian
Photo essay: San Francisco exhibit "Beyond Persia Artists"

Lalé Welsh Shahparaki
December 3, 2006
iranian.com

ARTISTS
* Shiva Pakdel
* Amir Salamat
* Shahla Motamedi
* Simin Meykadeh
* Jaleh Etemad
* Maryam (Mina) Ghaziani
* Speheram Khamjani

Since the dawn of the Persian Empire in 539 BC, Cyrus the great proclaimed Persia as the bastion of civilization and religious freedom.   The effect of letting people pray to the God of their choice was as shockingly correct and forward thinking then as say, de-segregation was to the American South in the 60’s.  What naturally ensued in both cases was a fusion of otherwise estranged cultures that morphed into a new breed of civilization. 

While perhaps not immediately kinder or more tolerant, the slow but deliberate process of exposure to the new and different inevitably makes for a richer, stronger, more interesting blend as we have seen. The results of both examples gave us everything from the world’s first bona-fide postal system 500 years before Christ (yes, that’s right!) to Jazz and Rock and Roll.  Without sounding pithy, the infusion of Persian culture into post 1979 America is bound to have had some enriching affect on all parties involved in this mutually reluctant exchange—the signs of which we witness through our ever evolving art, music and poetry.

A group seven of Bay Area artists, who refer to themselves as “Beyond Persia Artists” and will tell you that they are the pioneer group in Northern California, have made it easy for us to track such social change.  Having little in common except their Persian roots and obvious love of art, the comparison/contrast in their work underscores a mix of western influence in a style that is still decidedly Persian. Or by contrast, western looking art, that betrays only hints of their Persian past, like little gems interspersed in a treasure hunt.  At its best, the work of these individuals is truly bi-cultural and because of that has arguably created a new genre in contemporary art— but certainly a turning point in Iranian art: it is “Iranian American art”.

The artists consist of two men and five women Jaleh Etemad, Mina Ghaziani, Sepehram Khamjani, Simin Meykadeh, Shahla Motamedi, Shiva Pakdel and Amir Salamat.  Selected works by each artist will be on display, at Gallery One, Embarcadero Center in San Francisco December 8th through the 12th, with the Grand Opening Reception on Friday December 8th, 2006 From 5-10PM.  Admission is Free on all nights. For more information on the exhibit and film festival visit BeyondPersia.com.  and read a brief introduction to the art and philosophy of each featured artist below. Comment

ARTISTS
* Shiva Pakdel
* Amir Salamat
* Shahla Motamedi
* Simin Meykadeh
* Jaleh Etemad
* Maryam (Mina) Ghaziani
* Speheram Khamjani

COMMENT
For letters section
To Lalé Welsh Shahparaki

* FAQ
* Advertising
* Support iranian.com
* Editorial policy
* Write for Iranian.com
* Reproduction

 

ALSO
BeyondPersia.com

RELATED
Arts

Travelers

Diaspora

From Persia to Napa
Wine at the Persian Table
by NAJMIEH BATMANGLIJ

 

Copyright 1995-2013, Iranian LLC.   |    User Agreement and Privacy Policy   |    Rights and Permissions