Iranian Artists Come to Brooklyn

Folk band Vatan (Photo via Vatan Facebook page)

Persian Folk band Vatan (Photo via Facebook)

Brooklyn’s Galapagos Art Space will host Bayan (“expression” in Farsi), a showcase of modern and classical Iranian artists, on Tuesday, September 23.

“There’s a lot of Iranian artists in the city and you know it wasn’t like that 2 years or 3 years ago,” said Mohammad Golabi, the event’s curator, who said many young Iranian artists have been moving into and working in the city recently.

“We don’t think they’re the only group which has voices. They just haven’t talked enough already,” he said.

The event will feature photography by Mahmoud Nourbakhsh and performances by master of Western and Iranian classical music, Navid Kandelousi. Also on hand will be Brooklyn-based Persian folk band, Vatan, as well as comedian Asie Mohtarez and actor and musician Neimah Djourabchi.

The showcase will have a mix of artists working in classical and modern art forms partly to highlight how modern Iranian artists have their roots in classical Persian art forms, while today’s classical Iranian artists in turn are influenced by the modern.

Susan Peret, the producer of the show, came up with the idea of Bayan after doing a similar showcase of modern and classical Indian artists for Indian Independence Day last month. That event was called Bakwas, or Nonsense, in Punjabi.

bayan PosterAfter talking with Golabi, she realized that a similar show could display the various talents of Iranian artists working in New York, artists who, like Indian artists working here, draw on their traditions but also break new ground.

“There are so many cultures that are represented in New York that also have this modern and traditional expressions and those two worlds don’t meet,” she said, adding that these types of showcases are meant to display the nuances that exist in a culture but are not often shown.

Golabu thinks this show will be interesting to New Yorkers even if they aren’t Iranian.

“What we show here is not only for Iranians, or Indians, or people from the Middle East,” he said. “ [The artists] are giving a different accent to their work and that is interesting for everyone.”

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Another Bayan showcase is scheduled for Oct. 12 while a second Bakwas event is planned for September 28.

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