Interview Subjects

ELIZABETH T. GRAY, JR.

Elizabeth T. Gray, Jr.

Elizabeth T. Gray, Jr. is a poet, translator, and corporate consultant who has lived and studied extensively in the Middle East and South Asia. Her translation of poems by Iran's iconic woman poet Forough Farrokhzad (1934-1967), Let Us Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season (New Directions) was a finalist for the 2023 PEN Prize for Poetry in Translation. A 30th Anniversary Edition of Eighty Ghazals from the Diwan of Hafiz (d. 1389), Iran's major classical mystical poet, will appear in 2024. Ms Gray's books of poetry include Salient and Series | India, and her work has appeared in The Paris Review, Modern Poetry in Translation, Poetry International, The Harvard Review, and elsewhere. She holds a B.A. and J.D. from Harvard University. She lives in New York City.


Maryam Ekhtiar

Glenn D. Lowry

Glenn D. Lowry is an American art historian and director of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Lowry began his career as curator of Oriental art at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum in 1981. Lowry was appointed in 1983 as the first director of the Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William and Mary; he later became curator of Near Eastern Art at the Smithsonian Institution's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art (1984–1990). He was director of the Art Gallery of Ontario from 1990 to 1995. He was appointed director of the Museum of Modern Art in 1995.


Maryam Ekhtiar

Maryam Ekhtiar

Curator in the Department of Islamic Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Maryam Ekhtiar began working at the museum in 2003 as a specialist in the field of nineteenth-century Persian art and culture, calligraphy, and later Persian painting. She was co-editor of the catalog of masterpieces from the museum's collection of Islamic Art and Art of the Islamic World: A Resource for Educators. In addition, she has written articles and lectured extensively in the fields of Iranian art and contemporary art from the Middle East. Her latest book, How to Read the Art of Islamic Calligraphy, was published by The Met in 2018.


Simon Rettig

Simon Rettig

Simon Rettig is the Associate Curator for the Arts of the Islamic World at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art. Between 2012 and 2016, he was the curatorial fellow for the arts of the Islamic World at the Freer and Sackler. Rettig curated the exhibition Nasta'liq: The Genius of Persian Calligraphy (2014), and The Prince and the Shah: Royal Portraits from Qajar Iran (2018). His current projects include the preparation of an exhibition on the Great Mongol Shahnameh (scheduled for 2024) and a monograph on the Freer's celebrated Khusraw and Shirin manuscript.


Pouya Jahanshahi

Pouya Jahanshahi

Pouya Jahanshahi is an Iranian-born graphic designer and an associate Professor of Graphic Design at Oklahoma State University. He received his MFA in Graphic Design and Integrated Media, from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) where he researched the global development of what he has termed Hybrid Visual Cultures. Focusing on the post-revolutionary and hybrid characteristics of Iranian typography and design, he has been the voice of Iranian graphic design in Western academia. His current research pertains to the evolution of the Nasta'liq script and its identity in the diasporic sphere. His work and research have been presented in venues across the globe.


Pouya Jahanshahi

Elahe Khatami

Elahe Khatami is an Iranian calligrapher. She refined her work by learning from Iranian masters Amirkhani and Falsafi. Khatami was the first female to be certified as a master in the Nasta'liq style of Persian calligraphy in 2007 and has been a fixture in calligraphy competitions both as an award winner and jury member. Including awards from the Islamic World Calligraphy Festival and Algeria International Biennale. She has presented her work in individual exhibitions and taught workshops all around the world, namely in London, Beirut, Dakar, Istanbul and Washington, D.C.


Pouya Jahanshahi

Bahman Panahi

Bahman Panahi is a visual artist, calligrapher and musician based in Paris. He was drawn to the arts of calligraphy and music from an early age and soon found that his practice of these two art forms complemented each other. He graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Tehran University; he continued in Ecole Beaux-arts de Valenciennes and his doctoral research (the relationship between music and calligraphy) at the Sorbonne University in France. Bahman Panahi has coined the term "musicalligraphy" to describe his work. A combination of visual abstraction, calligraphy, and music, his pieces are an exploration of the points where these three arts intersect.


Azita Panahpour

Azita Panahpour

Azita Panahpour is an Iranian American multi-disciplinary artist, living in New York. In her series, Shattered Poems, she explores the feelings of displacement, loss, and identity by creating dynamic gestural vocabulary drawn from the Persian alphabet, Emphasis is placed on the alphabet's shapes rather than sound to become a more universal language. Although she is not a traditional calligrapher, she has selected to work with the Nasta'liq style as it is rooted in Iranian culture. Azita's career began as an art director for advertising agencies in New York. She continues to collaborate on creative direction for select clients. Her artwork, including painting, sculpture, and photography, has been exhibited in solo and group shows nationwide. Her work features in both private and corporate collections worldwide.