Sounds Iranian Open Access
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"Sounds Iranian" explores the role of Iranian music and poetry for immigrants in Washington, D.C., as a means to connect their homeland and identity. This multimedia project employs photography, digital calligraphy, short documentary videos and a website to portray the intimate feelings and complex emotions Iranians experience when they listen to a poignant song or recite a moving poem. I observe and show how music and poetry transport immigrant Iranians into nostalgia, joy, happiness, and ultimately evoke personal memories from home. In the portrait series, the subjects have chosen to sing or play a song, or read a poem to ‘transform’ themselves as I photograph their altered expressions. The portraits are then enriched with Farsi calligraphy of the same poems or lyrics they have chosen. In the video, Iranian music is the voice that resonates with the daily experiences of Aida, a young woman who embodies her dual Iranian and American identities. The website houses the entire multimedia project along with songs, voices from the Iranian diaspora, additional research and information, and a community engagement project, “Nowruz Celebration at GW.” The project tends to be continued by author to examine further the stories related to culture, nostalgia, homesickness and dualities of the Iranian American immigrant community in the District of Columbia and the surrounding region.