Continental Divide: East of L.A. / West of Tehran

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Continental Divide: East of L.A / West of Tehran

On Exhibition: July 17th – August 22nd , 2015

The Artists:

Arya GhavamianLaleh MehranJustin Mashouf, + Amitis Motevalli

Curatorial Statement:

NOW, as we witnesses the historic events unfolding with a nuclear deal being forged between Iran and six world powers, lead by the United States, the artwork presented within this exhibition is more relevant than ever. Leon is proud to present four exceptional Iranian-American artists whose unique perspectives give a powerful voice to their own personal experiences, as well as larger, more universal truths. Through their use of critical content ranging from global economic forces to political propaganda, from pre-war nostalgia to contemporary hip-hop culture, they express the diversity of their ancestral heritage in a manner which challenges stereotypes and dispels myths.   

How important is American identity within the work of immigrant artists? How important is the inclusion of ancestral traditions within their art? Is it possible for first-generation American artists, born of immigrant parents, to express their American identity while retaining and honoring their cultural heritage?

Continental Divide: East of L.A / West of Tehran features select American artists of Iranian descent, who are encouraged to present work that explores issues they have faced in being of Persian descent, the struggles they have encountered in exploring their artistic voice, and their connection, if any, to their ancestral homeland- while also growing up within an American culture that is too often misinformed and antagonistic toward their ancestral homeland.

Featuring artwork by electronic time-based media artist and associate professor of Emergent Digital Practices at DU, Laleh Mehran; Justin Mashouf, 3 time Emmy Award winning documentary filmmaker; Arya Ghavamian, photographer and video artist featured recently in Vanity Fair, and Performance and mixed media artist Amitis Motevalli. 

Photography by: Amanda Tipton