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Celebrating the Cultural Origins of Persian Carpets: Farhang Foundation and LACMA Present the Premiere of Imaginary Knots


An original artistic performance in association with A Tale of Two Persian Carpets: The Ardabil and Coronation Carpets exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

LOS ANGELES, CA, October 26, 2009- Farhang Foundation, together with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art announced today the premiere of Imaginary Knots; Celebrating the Cultural Origins of Persian Carpets, taking place at LACMA's Bing Theater on November 24, 2009 at 7 p.m.  Imaginary Knots is an original artistic performance and collaboration, which is presented in support of LACMA's A Tale of Two Persian Carpets: The Ardabil and Coronation exhibition at LACMA, November 14 to January 18, 2010.

"Farhang Foundation greatly values the relationship it has developed with LACMA, an organization which recognizes the significance of Iranian art and culture as part of the multi-ethnic heritage of Southern California." said Ali C. Razi, Chairman of the Farhang Foundation.  "Having the support of one of the world's most respected cultural institutions allows us to expose the fascinating origins of Persian carpet weaving to a much wider audience than would otherwise have been possible."

Imaginary Knots brings together three of Iran's most creative and innovative artists, Mamak Khadem (singer), Hamid Saeidi (producer and composer) and Shida Pegahi (choreographer) who will present an evening celebrating their rich Persian heritage and the cultural roots they draw upon.

Imaginary Knots is a collaborative production by Hamid Saeidi and Shida Pegahi; a multimedia production exploring the cultural origins of Persian Carpets. Like an intricate silk carpet, this multimedia project weaves live music, dance and video art as it explores aspects of the Persian culture.  The program will continue with Mamak Khadem and her ensemble, performing Green Volume where she seeks to explore the intersections of Eastern and Western musical traditions. By collaborating with traditional performers from Iran, as well as world-aware instrumentalists from the West, Mamak hopes to inspire people globally, particularly the younger generation, to contemplate, observe, and celebrate the value of the Persian heritage. 
Additionally, as part of the two-month exhibition, LACMA is excited to bring a special lecture by renowned carpet expert, Dr. Jon Thompson, on December 5, 2009 at LACMA's Bing Theater who will speak about the exciting history of the world-famous Ardabil Carpet and its mate.
Imaginary Knots, which is a FREE event to the public, is made possible through a generous sponsorship by Farhang Foundation whose mission is to support the study and research of Iranian history, art and culture and to promote and celebrate the culture and heritage of Iran for the benefit of Iranian-Americans and the community at large in Southern California.  Additional thanks to Mr. Ephrahim of Guity International and Mr. Helmi of Damoka for their contributions to the events. 
FREE tickets will be available ONE HOUR prior to the start of the Imaginary Knots show at the LACMA box office, starting at 6 p.m. Show starts at 7.
To learn more about all of these special programs at LACMA and the Farhang Foundation, please visit   Media inquiries are welcome.

About A Tale of Two Persian Carpets: The Ardabil and Coronation Carpets
Dating to the first half of the 16th century, LACMA's two spectacular Persian carpets, both the gift of J. Paul Getty, have only rarely been exhibited, due in part to their size and their sensitivity to light. Now, for the first time, these large and sumptuous carpets will be shown together, affording visitors the opportunity to see two of the world's most renowned Persian carpets and to learn something of their fascinating history before and after they left Iran.
This special installation is made possible in part by the Farhang Foundation.
On view November 14, 2009 - January 18, 2010 in the Art of the Americas Bldg, 2nd (Plaza) Level.

About Mamak Khadem
Called " of the wonders of world trance music", by The Los Angeles Times, Mamak Khadem captivates audiences by blending her roots in the ancient poetry and music of the Persian masters with a bold and revolutionary new sound.  Formerly of the sensational cross-cultural fusion ensemble AXIOM OF CHOICE, Mamak weaves a canopy, both simple and rich, for a stunningly emotional and spiritual musical experience that inspires new listeners to embrace cultural diversity and an awareness and appreciation of Persian arts and culture through a blending of old and new. A classically trained Persian singer, Mamak has studied her art extensively in both Iran and the United States. Inspired by her travels throughout the Middle East, Mamak Khadem's first solo album "Jostojoo (Forever Seeking)", features some of Mamak's favorite Persian poetry blended with carefully chosen melodies rooted in the traditions of Armenia, Greece, Turkey and Iran. Mamak can also be heard on numerous film and television scores, including those for the feature films The Peacemaker, Traffic, and Dracula 2000, and The Profiler, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Battlestar Galactica TV series. Some of her recent performances include; Perth Concert Hall in Australia, Greek Theater Los Angeles, Smithsonian Museum, Museum of Folk Instruments in Greece, Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, House of Culture in Germany and California Plaza.  She resides in Los Angeles where she teaches classical Persian music as well as conducting workshops for non-musicians that incorporate singing, meditation and movement.

About Hamid Saeidi
Award winning musician and composer Hamid Saeidi transcends musical categorization. Trained in the Radiff system of Persian Classical music from the age of 15, he studied santur (Persian Hammered Dulcimer) with famed Master Madjid Kiani. Saeidi's amazing technique, emotional depth and innovative improvisations led him to pursue a degree in music from The Iranian Academy of the Arts studying composition under Masters Farhad Fakhredini and Vartan Sahakian. As an internationally lauded performer, Saeidi has performed in Iran, Greece, Ireland, Germany, Turkey and the United States. He has composed music for over 30 diverse films, television programs, dance and theatrical presentations including "Javdanegi" by Farshad Fereshtehekmat, "Afsaneh Saheleh Tareek" by Reza Davari, " Letters from Tentland " by Helena Waldman and the dance presentation "Avazhick" at the celebrated Theatre Shahr in Tehran, Iran.  Just recently, he completed composing the soundtrack for the film "Baran Dar Aftab" by Farshad Fereshteh Hekmat.  His works have received awards at the Beirut film festival (2002), the Iran TV Festival (2002-2004-2007) and the Society of Critics of Theater in Iran (2005). Hamid Saeidi is currently touring the U.S. with world music recording artist Mamak Khadem, as well as the world-famous and award winning Turkish artist, Omar Faruk Tekbilek.

About Shida Pegahi
Shida Pegahi is a choreographer, dancer and performance artist from Iran who has studied at the National Ballet Academy of Iran and at the School of Royal Ballet in England. Starting at the age of eight, she trained extensively and rigorously in classical ballet, jazz, ethnic and the cultural traditions of Persian form. She has also studied and performed ethnic dance including the regional dances of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Armenia.  Shida received her B.A. from Ohio University and performed with  The West Coast Dance Company, Westside Ballet Company, Avaz International Dance Theatre and Dance Electric before founding Ney Nava Dance Theatre which has performed locally and nationally at The J. Paul Getty Museum, The Ford Amphitheatre and The Wadsworth Theatre to name a few. Shida Pegahi has taught over 2,500 students for the past 22 years at several prestigious institutions, among them the Westside Ballet and The Crossroads School where she was the head of the dance program. She is the founder and artistic Directors of Ney Nava Dance Theatre and Pacific Arts Center & Dance Studios

About Dr. Jon Thompson
Dr. Jon Thompson is the May Beattie Fellow in Carpet Studies, Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford directing the work of the Beattie Carpet Archive. He teaches courses on carpets and textiles of the Islamic world at Oxford and at the British Museum.
His publications include :
Hunt for Paradise: Court Arts of Safavid Iran 1501-1576 , edited with Sheila Canby (2003), The Nomadic Peoples of Iran edited with Richard Tapper (2002)
Carpets: From the Tents, Cottages and Workshops of Asia (1993)
Silk, Carpets and the Silk Road (1988)
Turkmen Tribal Carpets and Traditions, with Louise W. Mackie (1980).

About Farhang Foundation
Farhang Foundation is a non-religious, non-political and not-for-profit foundation established in 2008 to celebrate the art and culture of Iranian-Americans in its widest extent. The foundation supports academic activities in Southern California by funding university programs, publications and conferences. The foundation also supports cultural programs such as celebration of Nowruz and Mehregan, theater, dance performances, films screenings and poetry reading in Southern Californioa. Farhang Foundation, in cooperation with various cultural and academic institutions plans major programs and exhibitions about Iran and its culture. For more info visit:

Since its inception in 1965, LACMA has been devoted to collecting works of art that span both history and geography-and represent Los Angeles' uniquely diverse population. Today, the museum features particularly strong collections of Asian, Latin American, European, and American art, as well as a new contemporary museum on its campus, BCAM. With this expanded space for contemporary art, innovative collaborations with artists, and an ongoing transformation project, LACMA is creating a truly modern lens through which to view its rich encyclopedic collection.  For more info visit:

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