Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Esha's Biography

Esha Momeni was born in Los Angeles in 1980 to Iranian parents. Her father had come from Iran to pursue a degree in civil engineering at California State University, Los Angeles in 1977. As Iran began to experience the turmoil of revolution and war with Iraq, her parents decided to take her and her sister and return to Iran in order to be with loved ones and their fellow Iranians through the turbulent times. Despite the masses of people fleeing the hardships of life in Iran during the war and the opportunity for Esha's family to enjoy the comfort of living in the United States, her family remained committed to stay in Iran living in war torn areas of the south where her father directed construction efforts and transportation projects.
Artistic expression and commitment to the welfare of Iranians has been a mainstay of Esha's life since her early childhood. Esha started painting from an early and began studying traditional Iranian music at the age of fourteen (14). She studied traditional music and learned to play the tar (a Persian musical instrument) performing professionally as a member of Chakavak Women's Classical Music Group from 1998 to 2001. She preformed at venues such as Banu Women's Cultural Center in Tehran August 2000 and Fajr Musical Festival in January 2001.
Esha followed her passion to the university and completed a Bachelor's Degree in Graphic Design from the Arts Faculty at Azad University of Tehran in 2002, where she produced a short movie entitled "Adam and Eve's Banishment from Heaven" and an animation entitled "The Little Prince and Me." She also worked with the Saadabad Art Gallery and the White Wall Art Group. As a university student, she began to become interested in social issues and art. She was a monthly contributor to the student magazine Kalagh o Kalameh, and volunteered at Ameneh Orphanage, where she taught art classes to children to encourage them to express themselves.
However, it was her short but agonizing experience in a marriage tainted by domestic violence that would prove to be a turning point in her life. Rather than allowing the experience to break her, she became determined to use art to redefine her own life and to give a voice to others. Therefore, she decided to come to the United States to continue her education. Esha matriculated into the Masters in Mass Communication program at California State University Northridge and enrolled in photography and film classes. She produced a photo essay and worked on a short film on attitudes towards race in America entitled "N Word" presented at CSUN Showcase.
During her studies Esha was stunned by stereotypes of Iranian women in the United States as weak and passive as well as distressed by the possibility of American military intervention in Iran. Therefore, Esha decided to make her master’s thesis project a personal exploration of the shared experiences of everyday Iranians which included interviews with some members of a grassroots women's rights campaign called the "One Million Signatures Demanding Changes to Discriminatory Laws." The Campaign has made it clear that its activities are peaceful and merely aimed at reforming the Iranian laws in areas that discriminate against women and that it has no political objectives otherwise. Esha is determined to better the lives of her fellow citizens and banish stereotypes of Iranians through photo and film.

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