A Media Artist's Response To Failing Diplomacy
When BriAnna Olson's pacifist views were confronted by an adamant American couple, she decided to heed their challenge and head to Tehran-- the epicenter of the Axis of Evil nation.
Amongst a landscape of failed diplomacy and media smear campaigns, she and fellow artist Michael Pope found a society far more alive and hospitable than they'd ever been led to believe.
Like jesters of a modern-day Magellan, they've returned with stories and insights to a culture few American's have seen first hand.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Pariyoush Ganji is a internationally renowned painter, lecturer and instructor at Tehran University.
Meeting her was the highlight of the trip, and this moment, even more so than holding up "Unconditional Love is Global Security" at Azadi Monument, represented the fulfillment of the hopes I had for this project.
She welcomed us into her home and studio and I told her the story of my path to her house-- from "Sign at Ground Zero" to landing in Tehran two years later. She lauded me and the concept enough to make me blush. "Guts" she says, "You've got real guts" and goes on to discuss her concern that my generation and the generations after me have no philosophy and as a result, no spark behind their actions or art. It's clear that I've made an impression on her and she gave me temporary license to sing my own praises, which felt cathartic-- all the while with Michael at my side. He gushes when he tells the story and describes the whole experience as the passing of a torch.