We’re very pleased to announce the Art21 Blog’s newest column, Revolution 2.1: Art and Resistance in the Middle East, penned by former guest blogger Safa Samiezade’-Yazd. Revolution 2.1 focuses on the second chapter of the Arab Spring, from the creative expression that flourishes within both the establishment and underground–documenting, questioning and reflecting the cultural and societal changes of a country rebuilding itself in the 21st century. Samiezade’-Yazd will look at revolution within the greater Middle East in all its romanticism, competing ideologies, letdowns and triumphs, under the critical lens of the cultural forms it inspires–art, music, poetry, and performance. The column will also explore how artists, performers and writers document their countries in resistance and rebirth, while also holding reform accountable for following through on the poetic justice that ignited the “delayed defiance” (as Hamid Dabashi puts it in his book The Arab Spring) of an individual country and a region as a whole.
Currently based in Denver, Colorado, Safa Samiezade’-Yazd is an Iranian writer and editor whose expertise falls into two categories: contemporary art/performance and the Middle East. Together, the two give her a unique perspective on the depth of a region that is usually overshadowed by its politics. Safa currently edits the arts, film and music sections for Aslan Media Initiatives, an online non-profit news source on the Middle East and its diasporic communities. Her three one-woman shows explore Iranian identity in America–one through the veil, the second through Khomeini, and the third through the Islamic practice of temporary marriage. All three have been performed in Colorado, Vermont, and New York City, and one was presented at the Women Playwrights International Conference at the University of Mumbai. Recently, she co-curated the first festival of Iranian theater to be presented in the United States, which earned recognition in Backstage Magazine, The New York Times Arts Section, NPR’s All Things Considered, WNYC, BBC Radio, Frontline’s Tehran Bureau, and Voice of America’s Persian News Network, which re-aired her interview as a “Best of VOA” segment. Safa holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Denver and a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Art from Goddard College.
Revolution 2.1 will post on the 3rd Thursday of each month.