April 18, 2019
Hushidar Mortezaie, Artist and Designer
Moderated by Narges Bajoghli, Assistant Professor of Middle East Studies
The school hosted an art and fashion show focused on Iranian identity with designer and visual artist Hushidar Mortezaie as the inaugural event of its yearlong “Rethinking Iran” series with the Foreign Policy Institute. The series marks the 40th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution and offers fresh perspectives of the revolution’s cultural, societal, and political consequences.
The event began with a fashion show centered around contemporary Iranian culture, alongside an exhibition of artwork by Mortezaie. For additional context, Professor Narges Bajoghli moderated a discussion with Mortezaie on his interest in art and advocacy. Mortezaie explained that his objective is to broaden the narrative about the identity of the Iranians living in the United States, preserve their pride, and show the diversity of Iranian culture regardless of media stereotypes.
Speaking on identity, Mortezaie mentioned that gender equality is needed to achieve democracy in the Middle East. He also added that it is important for immigrants to establish a place of belonging–which may transcend nationality–in their community. Especially at a time of divisive politics and stereotyping, Mortezaie said it is important to dissolve racism and nationalism by promoting culture, color, and diversity, which have traditionally been valued elements of Iranian heritage.