Born in the Philippines in 1985 to a Persian father and Filipino mother, Shahriar Asdollah-zadeh migrated with his family in 1989 to Auckland, New Zealand, where he now resides. Shahriar’s interest in the fine arts from his childhood no doubt was influenced by the fact that his grandfather and uncle were themselves gifted artists. Learning more about his heritage, particularly regarding the persecution of his relatives in Iran in the 1980’s for their belief in the Bahá’í faith, fanned the flames of Shahriar’s desire to use the arts to raise awareness of social issues.
His most recent artwork http://www.worldartcollective.org has been broadcast on national TV, and featured in major daily newspapers, and magazines.
Shahriar launched http://www.worldartcollective.org in march 2008, the website that has become the vehicle for raising awareness of human rights violations, injustices and persecution.
Shahriar has always been interested in the power of technology, particularly the internet, in opening broad avenues of interaction among the world’s diverse populations. He aims to engage those who have been previously unexposed to what contemporary art can achieve socially and expand beyond the confines of a traditional art gallery setting.
“Artists are now able to use global communication as a medium to express the arts. Online social programmes such as Facebook, YouTube and Flickr are rapidly growing like a living organism and millions upon millions are signing up to join these trends of modern age popular culture,” says Shahriar.
World Art Collective; Persecution of Bahai’s in Iran
Artists can create awareness through contemporary art about the turbulent times we live in, the issues and problems that plague the world collectively. In my practice I am interested in creating art that directly addresses ideas of social change and reform within society.
We live in a time when there are constant advances in communication technologies that open broad avenues of interaction among the planet’s diverse populations. Artists are able to use this global communication and diversity of the world’s people as a tool to express the arts. I used the social internet network Facebook to collaborate with participants around the world. I empowered them by giving them the opportunity, to protest and thereby becoming participants of social action. A process took place where the artist and the participant interacted and influenced one another. The internet allows for the free expression of uncensored, unofficial, views, opinions, political, social dialogue and interaction. The internet has proved to be a useful tool for artists seeking an audience outside conventional art-world settings. This is what interests me a medium of art that cannot be controlled but is free and accessible for a large population of the world to view at a click of a mouse. I have always been interested about the power of social communication technology within the internet and watching it evolve. Now on line social programs such as Facebook, YouTube and Flickr are rapidly growing like a living organism and millions upon millions are constantly signing up to join these trends of modern age popular culture. Artists have the chance to exploit and tap into this popular culture phenomenon within their creative practices and reach out to new audiences and like minded people through cyber space.
I created a website http://http://www.worldartcollective.org. This is my platform where I created awareness about the issue of human rights violations, injustice and persecution. What I am interested in is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article’s 18, 19 and 26 in particular. I directed my artwork to a specific minority group. The group is the Bahá’í community which is being oppressed and persecuted by the fanatical regime governing Iran.
I have used the power of the internet and e-mail to create a global network of the world’s people—a demographically diverse group have thereby come together to participate in this world wide artists’ collective. I left it open for anyone who was on Facebook to join my world wide collective and participate in this project in collaboration with me. To date more than 1750 people have joined the group and I have received photographs and text messages from around the world from people who are concerned about the injustice and human rights violations directed at the Persian Bahá’í community in Iran.
The artwork evolved through the conversations that have been taking place creating awareness about the persecution of Bahai’s in Iran. This was generated from the instructions I posted on http://www.worldartcollective.org. It is the individuals from around the world making a conscious decision to participate and thereby educating their friends, families, co-workers, associates and strangers about the persecution, injustice and oppression that plague our world. The conversations and interactions between people talking about the persecution is the artwork and the photographs and text messages are a documentation of that event. It was a worldwide collaboration of hundreds and hundreds of people. The artwork thereby becomes a symbol of a time based event that happened over a course of several months around the world.
Over the year my work has dealt with the issues of Human Rights and Persecution through several bodies of artwork. I wanted to explore what could be achieved through the different contemporary mediums of practice and how it could influence aspects of the year long project. These were done through, photography, sculpture, video, installation, sound, internet websites and communication technology (e-mail and text messaging.)
In essence, I have used modern age technologies to communicate an idea of collective unity, justice and human rights through contemporary art.