Academics and Research / Magazine Feature

DU eMAD students take part in exchange with Iranian artists

Morehshin Allahyari believes Americans could better understand her home country of Iran, which is why the DU digital media studies graduate student developed an exchange between artists in Tehran and Denver.

Two teams of artists mailed or e-mailed incomplete works from Tehran to Denver and Denver to Tehran. The other group completed the artworks and mailed them back.

There are nine Denver artists participating, all DU students or alumni, and 11 artists from Iran. The finished works will be on display March 21–29 at the Adenken Gallery in Denver.

“Using the theme ‘Dialogue,’ it is our goal to present the perspectives of each group in a respectful, trusting and encouraging manner,” Allahyari says. “For me, it is so great to know that part of what I will be doing is to show the cultural side of my country.”

Allahyari moved to the United States in August 2007. She says the response she got from Americans about being from Iran was not always the most welcoming or educated.

“It took me some months after I moved here to find out what I can do as an artist about this, instead of just feeling awkward explaining what Iran is and what Iran is not,” she says.

The show will include paintings, video art, drawings, photographs, software, street art, design and the documentation of the whole process.

“For DU students it’s a unique opportunity to engage with students from another country, but more precisely a country that has been a point of political contention with the U.S. for decades,” says Laleh Mehran, assistant professor of digital media studies at DU. “Contemporary art often incorporates and reveals concepts about the world and culture the artist inhabits and the desire for critical engagement with the viewer.”

An opening reception for the exhibit will be held at 6 p.m. March 21 at the Andenken Gallery. Admission is free. The Iranian artists will display their works in Tehran this summer.

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