For Iranians and many other people in Asia, Europe, and the diaspora, the vernal equinox is not only the first day of spring, it is also the start of the new year. Norooz (meaning "new day") is a time for
It was a huge part of my upbringing, and is an important piece in the memories of my relationship to my maman joon and to my cultural identity. As such, it organically merged with my creative process in 2020 as I was processing my solitary shelter-in-place in the early days of COVID, and still heavy in my grief of my mother's transition in 2019. The following year, norooz called to me again, and it was clear to me that it wouldn't be the last time.
Following are the 2020 and 2021 video pieces I (co)created.
For a future of freedom (2021)
Co-created with the amazing Iranian-American vogue dancer Shireen aka Hype Kitty. Filmed and edited by Jardy Santiago in San Francisco, CA.
This Norooz, Hype Kitty and I decided to set our focus towards the future.
A future where our Iranian community, in Iran and the diaspora, can truly be free in our true, full and authentic selves.
Free from any forms of oppression and inequity, and a consciousness that understands how to show up and stand in solidarity with each other and beyond.
Where we can celebrate and uplift our rich connection to the arts.
Where we can remember and decipher when to leave things in the past, and when to bring them with us to a new era.
When to move as a collective, and when to allow ourselves to celebrate our individual, beautiful spirits, however they take shape.
Our movements throughout this process became a fusion of the Black American artforms (vogueing & popping) we practice that we honor and celebrate as they melted with the handstyles and movements from the Iranian dances we grew up around. Surrounding ourselves with elements of nature, and murals by talented Iranian artists such as Shaghayeh Cyrous and Keyvan Shovir, to the rhythmic sounds of Danny Asadi and Naghib Shanbehzadeh, down to the pants & mask designed by the brilliant Hushidar Mortezaie.
We look towards a better future or آینده with all members of our global community.
سال نو مبارک
In healing and remembrance (2020)
Self-filmed in my old apartment in Oakland, CA.
The spring equinox has come, and we look at this time for healing and rebirth. Needed now more than ever all around the world.
I danced, because I couldn't help but to feel sorrow for my maman joon not being with us this year, although I know her spiritual presence held my heart. I grieve for her every day, but like she always told me, I try to keep my head high. Good thoughts, good words, good deeds.
"Wherever I place my feet, I will see you there...The memories of you will be with me wherever I am."