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Navigating Cultural Currents: Keyvan Shovir Joins NYFA's Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program in Oakland

Excitement reverberates as Keyvan Shovir, a dynamic multidisciplinary artist from Iran, proudly takes his place among the selected artists for the NYFA Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program in Oakland. This prestigious program, presented in collaboration with SFEDF, Oakland Asian Cultural Center, Oakland Public Library, Aggregate Space Gallery, and Bisemi Foundation Inc., supported by the Ford Foundation, brings together a diverse cohort of mentees and mentors, fostering creative growth and cross-cultural connections.

About the NYFA Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program: Oakland

Keyvan Shovir joins a cohort representing countries such as Ethiopia, Taiwan, Brazil, Nigeria, The Philippines, and, of course, Iran. This program, a beacon of artistic support, pairs immigrant artists across disciplines with mentors who provide invaluable one-on-one guidance. The immersive experience includes mentorship, community building, and exposure—an artistic journey that transcends borders.

The Competitive Selection Process

The Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program is a competitive initiative, welcoming artists from all disciplines—performing, literary, and visual. What makes this program unique is not only its accessibility, provided free of charge to accepted participants, but also its expansion beyond New York. Thanks to a grant from the Ford Foundation, the program now spans Detroit, MI; Newark, NJ; Oakland, CA; and San Antonio, TX.

Celebrating Oakland's 2019 Participants

Keyvan Shovir, paired with Mentor Megan Wilson, stands out in a vibrant cohort of artists. From multidisciplinary explorations to folk and traditional arts, each mentee-mentor pairing forms a unique tapestry of cultural exchange and artistic mentorship. Keyvan's presence adds a rich layer to the program, reflecting the diversity and dynamism of contemporary Iranian art.

Keyvan Shovir: Bridging Traditions and Modernity

As a multidisciplinary artist, Keyvan Shovir's work is a fusion of traditional Iranian calligraphy and modern Western graffiti—an intersection that challenges norms and sparks conversations. He stands as one of the first Iranian graffiti artists, leaving an indelible mark with his expressive Farsi tags on the streets.

Closing Thoughts

Keyvan Shovir's participation in the NYFA Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program marks not only a personal achievement but a significant cultural exchange. As the program unfolds, we anticipate the impact of this collaboration, fostering artistic growth, and building bridges across diverse traditions.

NYFA's Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program is the only known program of its kind in the United States, and has provided close to 200 NYC-based immigrants with mentorship, community, and exposure for their work since it was founded in 2007. The New York program includes sessions in Visual/Multidisciplinary Art, Performing and Literary Arts, and Social Practice. In 2017, NYFA received a 2-year grant from Ford Foundation to support the expansion of the program to Detroit, MI; Newark, NJ; Oakland, CA; and San Antonio, TX.
This is a competitive program open to artists from all disciplines (performing, literary, and visual) and provided free of charge to accepted participants.


NYFA congratulates the 2019 participants in the NYFA Mentoring Program for Immigrant Artists in Oakland:

Mentee Asya Abdrahman, Multidisciplinary (Ethiopia), paired with Mentor Kristian Kabuay, Multidiscplinary/Folk & Traditional (Philippines).

Mentee Katherine Agard, Interdisciplinary (Trinidad and Tobago/Ghana), paired with Mentor Jason Wyman, Multidisciplinary (United States).

Mentee Etty D Alberto-Zamora, Visual (Honduras/Belize), paired with Mentor Kelly Ording, Visual (United States).

Mentee Byb Chanel Bibene, Multidisciplinary (Republic of Congo), paired with Mentor Melanie Wofford, Arts Administration/Performing (United States).

Mentee Kristiana Li-Yen Chan, Visual (Canada/Malaysia), paired with Mentor Alice Wu, Visual/Multidisciplinary (United States/Taiwan).

Mentee Daniel Chein, Film/New Media (Taiwan), paired with Mentor Kwesi D. Wilkerson, Performing/Literary (United States).

Mentee Paola de la Calle, Visual (Colombia), paired with Mentor PJ Policarpio, Multidisciplinary (United States).

Mentee Alisson Göthz, Visual (Brazil), paired with Mentor Jason Wyman, Visual (United States).

Mentee Patricia Leal, Interdisciplinary (Brazil), paired with Mentor Beth Waldman, Visual (United States).

Mentee Izidora Leber Lethe, Interdisciplinary (Croatia), paired with Mentor Brian Conley, Visual (United States).

Mentee Andreina Esther Maldonado Sosa, Performing (Venezuela), paired with Mentor Aimee Suzara, Performing/Literary (Philippines/United States).

Mentee Anthonia Onyejekwe, Film/Video/New Media (Nigeria), paired with Mentor Tossie Long, Performing/Multidisciplinary (United States).

Mentee Ginika Oruche, Film/Video/New Media (Nigeria), paired with Mentor Destiny Muhammad, Performing (United States).

Mentee Reaa Puri, Film/New Media (India), paired with Mentor Shalini Agrawal, Visual/Multidisciplinary (India).

Mentee Lydia Queriani, Multidisciplinary (Philippines), paired with Mentor Ely Sonny Orquiza, Multidisciplinary/Film/Video/New Media (Philippines).

Mentee Keyvan Shovir, Multidisciplinary (Iran), paired with Mentor Megan Wilson, Interdisciplinary (United States).

Mentee Anita Sulimanovic, Visual (Croatia), paired with Mentor Taro Hattori, Visual/Film/New Media (Japan).

Mentee Rupy C. Tut, Folk & Traditional Arts (India), paired with Mentor Karen Fiss, Visual/Folk & Traditional (United States).

Mentee Dor Wand, Film/Video/New Media (Israel), paired with Mentor Lyz Luke, Performing (United States).

Mentee Juniper Yun, Multidisciplinary (South Korea), paired with Mentor Mayumi Hamanaka, Visual/Multidisciplinary/Curatorial (Japan).

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