LOS ANGELES, CA.- Organized by the Farhang Foundation and The Art of the Middle East Council (LACMA), this special screening will take place Thursday, July 22nd at LACMA's Leo S. Bing Theater at 7:30pm. This screening takes place in conjunction with LACMA's installation: Yek, Do, Se: Three Contemporary Iranian Artists, which features Yassaman Ameri, Bahman Jalali and Samira Alikhanzadeh. This documentary features artists that are included in LACMA’s collection such as Shadi Ghadirian and Melekeh Nayiny.
Robert Adanto’s new documentary Pearls on the Ocean Floor features interviews with some of the most highly regarded Iranian female artists living and working in and outside the Islamic Republic, including Shadi Ghadirian, Shirin Neshat, Parastou Forouhar, Haleh Anvari, Sara Rahbar, Leila Pazooki, Afshan Ketabchi, Malekeh Nayiny, Bahar Sabzevari, Afsoon, Gohar Dashti, Pooneh Maghazehe, Mona Hakimi-Schuler, Taravat Talepasand, and Shadi Yousefian and Negar Ahkami. The film's score was composed by LA-based electronic musician and multimedia artist, Nalepa.
Pearls on the Ocean Floor challenges stereotypes and caricatures obscuring the vibrant and robust culture in Iran and its diaspora. Columbia Professor Hamid Dabashi recently wrote, “a much more patient reading of the visual and performing arts of this generation is needed before we know what in the world it is doing.” Indeed, as the younger generation invents a new identity for the 21st century, replacing the religious ideology and revolutionary fervor of the state’s credo, contradictions abound. Photographer Shadi Ghadirian explains that her work “touches upon our struggle to hold on to our parents’ and grandparents’ traditional values and practices while experiencing the benefits of modernity without getting caught up in its vices... Change is an inevitable process,” she says.
Facing issues of identity, gender, and social restrictions, the artists featured in Pearls on the Ocean Floor speak with a compelling quiet reserve and a striking boldness. Their work reveals encounters between religion and secular modernity, change and tradition, contemporary life and history. These brave women know now more than ever that their voices must be heard and their people understood. Through their words and their art, the real Iran will be discovered and this important historical moment has been documented.
Robert Adanto’s debut feature-length documentary film The Rising Tide explored China’s meteoric march toward the future through the work of some of the Middle Kingdom’s most talented photographers and video artists, including Wang Qingsong, Cao Fei, Xu Zhen, Yang Yong, Chen Qiulin and O Zhang. Shot in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen in the summer of 2006, this unflinching and incisive study captures the confusion and ambiguity that characterize the new China. “An often surprising and thought-provoking documentary,” wrote WICN’s Mark Lynch, “The rest of us better make an effort to grasp what their work is about, or get out of the way. An “eye-opener” in every sense of the word, if you are an artist, curator or art teacher be sure to catch this film." Richard Vine, Senior Editor, Art In America and author of New China, New Art, wrote, “"If you want a living sense of China’s contemporary art scene—and the artists who are shaking it up—check out Robert Adanto’s “The Rising Tide.” It reveals some of the brightest and best new talents, capturing their works, their words, and their faces amid a swiftly changing environment."