Contemporary Art of Iran and Its Diaspora
Amir Rad, Oil on canvas
Curated by: Narges Bajoghli, Nikoo Paydar, Leyla Pope and Maryam Ovissi
June 22 - August 4, 2007, Washington, D.C.; Tehran, Iran
In the summer of 2007, IAAB held two concurrent sister exhibitions of contemporary Iranian and Iranian diaspora art in Washington D.C.'s Ellipse Arts Center and Tehran's Nikzad Gallery from June 22 to August 4. The selected artists were a talented and diverse group representing Iranian communities across the United States, Europe, and Iran. The exhibitions featured a range of supplementary programming, including an opening reception, lectures, performances, and panel discussions.
Curators Statement
Since the 1979 Revolution, Iranians have been in a state of perpetual transition and transformation. The dramatic end of the Shah's rule, the creation of the Islamic Republic, and the 8-year Iran-Iraq war have all contributed to the creation of one of the fastest growing diasporas in recent history. Nearly 30 years later, in an era dominated by the U.S.-led ‘War on Terror,' contentious notions of the ‘Axis of Evil,' and heightened global anxiety over Iran's nuclear ambitions, Iranians in Iran and those outside of its borders are finding themselves in the throes of individual, local, national, and global tensions -- and they are expressing their experiences and views in new and compelling ways.
Despite living in an environment where self-expression is limited and government censorship is often physically palpable, it is the young people of Iran who are pushing limits and transforming the cultural fabric of their society. Concurrently, Iranians living outside Iran have been grappling with the reality of their dual (and often dueling) identities in their relatively newly-formed hyphenated communities, creating new meanings for diasporic identity and culture.


TRANSFORM/NATION offered the unique opportunity for these culturally related, but geographically separated, communities to interact with one another via simultaneous exhibits in Washington, D.C. and Tehran, Iran. Via photography, paintings, installations, and films by artists from Iran, Europe and the United States, TRANSFORM/NATION brought the individual experience to a global conversation about identity, nationalism, and Iran's place in the world.

Exhibiting Artists
Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area
  • Samira Abbassy, USA
  • Haleh Anvari, Iran
  • Kaya Behkalam, Germany
  • Pantea Karimi, USA
  • Bani Khoshnoudi, France
  • Haleh Niazmand, USA
  • Amir Rad, Iran
  • Afarin Rahmanifar, USA
  • Jairan Sadeghi, USA
  • Samineh Sarvghad, Iran
  • Farideh Shahsavarani, Iran
  • Samira Yamin, USA
  • Siamak Nasiri Ziba, Iran
Tehran, Iran
  • Ali Alavi, Iran
  • Nazgol Ansarinia, Iran
  • Amir Sabber Esfahani, USA
  • Bani Khoshnoudi, France
  • Farideh Shahsavarani, Iran
  • Maryam Shirinlou, Iran
  • Shadi Yousefian, USA
  • Mahboubeh Zadehahmadi, Iran
  • Shahnaz Zehtab, Iran
  • Siamak Nasiri Ziba, Iran