Art by Samira Abbassy
Over the course of the past four decades, Iranians have had to endure numerous kinds of separations: from homeland, family, familiarity, and friendships. These distances have rarely caused a complete breakage from Iran—quite the opposite: many Iranians have remained steadfast in their efforts to maintain ties with the people and things they hold dear, successfully bringing with them their music, culture, cuisine, and traditions to the societies they have joined in countries across the globe. While life away from Iran has meant that they can’t physically be there, many Iranians in the diaspora remain deeply emotionally engaged with their home country. Whether they have been away for decades or a few short years, Iranians seem to have a deeply empathetic connection to Iran—feeling the pain of the country, becoming emotionally distressed when their fellow Iranians inside the country are dealing with crisis.
There is a familiar saying in Persian, commonly and sincerely used by Iranians all over the world; they say it after short or long separations from one another, or to convey that they have been in each other’s thoughts: Hearts have paths to one another, del be del rah dareh. With regard to Iran and Iranians, it seems this path is set in stone and never fades. No matter how far they may go from home, when Iran is in crisis, one can almost hear the collective sorrow of Iranians, regardless of where they may be in this world at that moment.
Spring / Summer 2023
The Iran Issue
Golafarin Razi was born in Tehran, Iran and raised in Tehrangeles (Los Angeles, California). Having spent her most of her life either in Iran or surrounded by one of the most well-known Iranian diaspora communities in the world — Iranian history, culture, arts and politics have become the tapestry of her life. Golafarin loves studying, discussing, and discovering new things about Iran.
Samira Abbassy (b.1965 Ahwaz, Iran) graduated from Canterbury College of Art, Kent, UK. She moved to New York in 1998, where she co-founded the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts and EFA Studio Center. Abbassy is known for her figurative oil on gesso panel paintings depicting the human figure, mythological creatures, and scenes of war. Over the course of her thirty-year career her work has been shown internationally and has been acquired by private and public collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rubin Museum, and NYU’s Grey Art Gallery (all in NY); The British Museum; Farjam Collection, Dubai; Devi Foundation, New Delhi; and the Omid Foundation, Iran. Abbassy has been awarded grants and fellowships by Yaddo; Pollock-Krasner Foundation; Joan Mitchel Foundation; Saltonstall Foundation; NYFA; and the University of Virginia.