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Taraneh Hemami collaborating with The Persian Center (Berkeley)

Award: $35,000 Visual Arts Grant, 2000

Installed at the Persian Center: December 2003

Lead Artist Taraneh Hemami, collaborated with the Persian Center in Berkeley, California, gathering images and personal stories from over 100 Iranian immigrants in Northern California. The collected materials were printed onto transparencies and assembled between layers of silk-screened glass and mirrors for permanent installation at the Center’s social hall. The project is based on the mirrored talar found in many historic buildings in Iran, and inspired by Persian patterns and designs.

Artist Taraneh Hemami has been an active, exhibiting Bay Area artist since receiving her Masters of Fine Arts from California College of the Arts in 1991. Her work has ranged from large, personal paintings to intimate book arts, from sculptures to installations, from performances to digital sound pieces. She writes, “My work has become the means by which I create connections to the place, the people and the culture I left behind when I immigrated to this country more than twenty five years ago… I have used the motifs and patterns of my culture as well as looked to the stories of my people to create works that reflect our collective history.”

The Persian Center’s mission is to create a place for social, educational, and recreational activities. It was established as a nonprofit organization in 1992 and, in 1998, found a home in an historical building in the center of downtown Berkeley.

Originally scheduled for installation in 2001, “Hall of Reflections” was delayed due to its success. Hemami’s and the Center’s outreach efforts in the Iranian immigrant community drew an enormous body of material—photo albums and personal archives as well as oral histories. The San Francisco Arts Commission exhibited the work  in September-October 2002; and in April 2003 the piece was selected for the prestigious Sharjah Biennial at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates.