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About Sanaz Mazinani:
An independent curator, artist, and educator, Sanaz Mazinani is currently completing her Masters in Fine Art at Stanford University. She received her undergraduate degree in 2003 from the Ontario College of Art & Design University.
Mazinani’s curatorial practice focuses on the idea of perception, and through pedagogical methodologies, explores the nature of modern existence in our globalized world. By critically engaging with personal metaphors on a symbolic level, she encourages viewers to contemplate the contexts in which meaning is negotiated. She approaches curating as a creative act in itself, and through her framing of questions, inspires audiences to identify the connections between perspective and representation.

Mazinani’s practice often intersects conceptual and formal boundaries on site, sight and insight. The recipient of Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council grants, her work can be found in many public & private collections. Formerly Director of the Stephen Bulger Gallery, and Education Programmer for the CONTACT Photography Festival, Mazinani is currently an instructor at the San Francisco Art Institute.

Mazinani will provide two bilingual tours and discussion forums on Contemporary Iranian Art to visitors.

About Reza Derakhshani:
Reza Derakhshani’s paintings present a panoramic view of a wide range of original styles from extremely poetic works such as Khosrow and Shirin series to the dark scenery of The Circus of Life and Identity Crisis series. Reza studied visual arts at Tehran University and Art Center of California and later taught visual arts at Tehran University. His passion for beauty has precipitated his many artistic creations in a wide range of disciplines from music, graphic design, book illustration, film animation and calligraphy to studies in traditional and western classical visual arts. Yet, it is within contemporary painting that he has experienced true liberation and fulfillment as an artist. His works has been published in prestigious international publications such as New York Times, International Herald Tribune, and Chicago Tribune to name a few. A recent publication by Patrick Cramer Publishing House covers eleven series of Derakshani's paintings where each chapter is accompanied by a poem. Derakhshani’s paintings have been exhibited and collected worldwide.

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About Nasser Ovissi:
With exhibitions spanning across the globe from Brazil to Japan, Europe, and the United States, Nasser Ovissi has firmly established himself as a brilliant and versatile international artist whose passionate work presents a unique blend of European, Persian, and contemporary art. A painter, sculptor, engraver, designer, and goldsmith, he has published over seventeen books in Italian, Japanese, French, Spanish, Persian, and English. He has also received numerous international awards and prizes. Nasser Ovissi is featured in E. Benezit's Dictionaire des Peintures, Sculpteurs, Dessinatrurs et Graveurs Vol. 9, Librurie Grand, Paris. His work is part of major museum collections such as the National Gallery of Athens, the New York University Art Museum, the Fine Art Museum of North Carolina, the Contemporary Art Museum of Madrid, and the National Museum of Oriental Art in Rome and is included in over 300 private collections worldwide.

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About Hamed Sahihi:
Born in 1980 in Tehran, Hamed Sahihi received his BA in painting and his graduate degree from the Iranian Young Filmmaker Society later in 2003. Sahihi's intriguing paintings with faceless confined figures and eerily idealized landscapes create poetic metaphors for a dreaming dystopian society. His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions in Iran and his animated films of the similar surreal nature have been screened in over twenty venues in Asia and Europe over the past six years. Sahihi is currently serving as one of the Nominators for the Magic of Persia Contemporary Art Prize. Tirgan will feature a set of twelve short video animations which are part of the series But in your head baby, I'm afraid you don't know where it is. Titled after the popular song "Somebody to Love" by the American rock band Jefferson Airplane, in each piece, the viewer can discover microscopic figures who continue on their routine unaware of immanent calamity in the scene.

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About Ali Soltani:
A painter and a sculptor, Ali Soltani was born in Tehran in 1969. He began drawing at the age of three and started his formal training as the age of thirteen with Master Taha Behbahani - who paints in a surrealist, metaphysical style, which Soltani chooses for his own work. Soltani obtained his Bachelor Degree in Arts from Azad University of Tehran and continued his studies in painting at University of Lagune. The subjects of Soltani’s paintings come from his imagination, focusing on thoughts and significant events in his life. Each work of art carries with it its own spirit of character. Over the years, his artistic methods and approaches have been different while his subjects in their essence have remained the same. Soltani’s works have been exhibited in numerous exhibitions in Iran, Canada, Europe, and USA.

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About Parastou Forouhar:
Through her photographs, installations, and multi-media presentations, Parastou Forouhar recounts the conflict between beauty and violence and at the same time provokes the mind of the observer by displacing familiar signs of ethnic and gender projection. In her works, elements from oriental clichés familiar to the west are evoked and transferred into a new context. This is best represented in Parastou’s Eslimi (ornamental) collection which is a fabric with familiar patterns of deceptive charm. A closer look at the patterns reveals their true identity as knives, whips, needles and other instruments of torture. Dramatic post-revolution tensions have been a major source of inspiration in the works of Parastou Forouhar. Having completed her undergraduate studies in Art at University of Tehran, she later obtained M.A. from Hochschule für Gestaltung in Germany where she has been living since 1991. Parastou has had numerous exhibitions throughout the world and her works are in the permanent collection of such museums as:  Belvedere Museum, Vienna, Austria; Badisches Landesmuseum, Karlsruhe, Germany; Musem of Modern Art, Frankfurt; and the Deutsche Bank Art Collection.

Click here to watch a video about this artist's work.

About Soody Sharifi:
Houston-based multidisciplinary artist, Sharifi obtained her Master of Fine Arts degree in Studio Photography at the University of Houston. Her work primarily deals with the paradoxes and contradictions inherent in living between two cultures. In many of her series, she has explored the notion of identity and what it means to participate in two cultures from both an outsider’s and an insider’s perspective. Through her work, she investigates this concept as it applies to Muslim youth in Iran and the US and their emerging concept of self-identity specifically how they accommodate modernity and the indulgences and exploration specific to youth within a very traditional society.  Sharifi's work has been exhibited nationally and internationally since 2004 and has been collected by Museum of fine arts in Houston and Portland.

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About Tahereh Goodarzy and Atefeh Khas:
Goodarzy and Khas often work in collaboration to make large-scale outdoor installations, dealing with the environment. Frequently travelling across Iran to create art in nature, their works culminate in installations, performance and photography. For Tirgan 2011, Goodarzy and Khas create a site-specific installation in the North Orchard of Harbourfront Centre.


Goodarzy and Khas both attended Shahed University in Tehran earning degrees in Painting. Their works have been featured annually in the Environmental Art Festival in Iran since 2006. Goodarzy primarily makes social-sculpture, extending her process out into the communities she works in to engage a wider public. Most recently, she undertook an ambitious collaborative project titled, Patchwork, with 400 students in Khoram Abad, Iran, where Goodarzy worked with youth to revive an old tradition of quilting, designing and creating a monumental piece using recycled fabrics. Khas’s engagement with nature arises from a formal study of light. Working outdoors, she uses mirrors and other reflective materials to create breathtaking installations that speak to the beauty of the environment, and sight as means to interact with the land.

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About Oldouz Moslemian:
Oldouz Moslemian is a Toronto-based textile designer and artist. She graduated with a Material Art and Design Bachelor from Ontario College of Art & Design University in 2010.

Moslemian uses textiles as her primary site of exploration while incorporating other materials and technologies into the structure of her work to create unique fabrics that react to the surrounding environment. In 2010, she was granted funding form Canada’s National Research Council-Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) to further develop her projects. Currently she is a resident of Social Body Lab at Ontario College of Art & Design University’s Masters program, developing her new body of work.

In her practice, Moslemian collapses the boundaries of science, engineering, and craft to create artworks that imbue meaning onto textiles while shedding light on their transformative value as artifacts that carry within them societal knowledge. Showcased in Tirgan, Talk to Me is a hand-woven piece made from fiber-optics, cotton tape, and electronic components. This textile responds to the ambient sound in the environment, creating a conversation between the viewer and the piece.

Visions of Eternity


"The artists included in this year's Tirgan Iranian Festival challenge the essence of Persian art and culture itself. Their works draw upon the motifs of Iranian art to make contemporary commentary on the theme of eternity. They engage with current discourse and deliver an entirely new message that reflects upon the nature of modern existence in our globalized world. The artists draw the language and material of ancient history into a present conversation and in doing so activate and bring to life eternal questions of being."


-Sanaz Mazinani, Curator.


Don't miss the curator's guided tour on Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm!

Lectures Visual Arts
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