Share the Mic: Amir H. Fallah’s CHANT
Join us for a conversation between artist Amir H. Fallah and matt dilling from Lite Brite Neon Studio, a beloved collective of craftspeople specializing in neon art, moderated by cultural historian Shiva Balaghi.
In his most recent collaborative work, Fallah has leveraged his art to keep public attention on protestors risking their lives in the fight for freedom in Iran. CHANT is a large-scale neon artwork that will be displayed on the front of Shulamit Nazarian Gallery at the intersection of La Brea and Melrose Avenues in Los Angeles. The work is a collaboration between Fallah and dilling, and was made possible by Fallah’s GoFundMe effort.
In Fallah’s words, “CHANT is a beacon for all those united in the struggle for freedom,” designed to hold public attention on Iran following the senseless murder of Mahasa Amini at the hands of the morality police.
Dr. Shiva Balaghi is a cultural historian specializing in the visual culture of the Middle East and its diasporas. She is Academic Coordinator of the Area Global Initiative at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She previously served as Senior Advisor to the President of the American University in Cairo for Arts and Cultural Programs and taught History and History of Art at NYU and Brown University for nearly two decades. Her books include Picturing Iran: Art, Society and Revolution (co-edited), Reconstructing Gender in the Middle East (co-edited), and Saddam Hussein: A Biography. Her writing has also appeared in Artforum, Hyperallergic, MERIP, and Iranian Studies. Balaghi has curated over a dozen art exhibitions in museums and galleries in the US, Europe, and the Middle East.
matt dilling is a Queer art fabricator and the founding partner of Lite Brite Neon Studio. Since 1999 they have helped develop and fabricate works of luminous artwork for a number of public and private institutions worldwide, with a focus on work that speaks too and facilitates social justice, human rights, and the awakening of the best of the human spirit. They reside on unceded Lenape land in what is currently known as the Catskills.
Amir H. Fallah received his BFA in Fine Art & Painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art and his MFA in painting at the University of California, Los Angeles. His work has been shown extensively in solo and group exhibitions across the United States and abroad. In 2009, he was chosen to participate in the 9th Sharjah Biennial; in 2015, he received the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant. In 2019, Fallah was awarded the Northern Trust Purchase Prize at EXPO Chicago for his painting Calling on The Past. Fallah was recognized with the COLA Individual Artist Fellowship and the Artadia grant in 2020. His work forms part of the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; the de Young Museum, San Francisco; the Jorge M. Pérez Collection, Miami; Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece; and Xiao Museum of Contemporary Art, Rizhao, China.
This program is co-sponsored by the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies.
Share the Mic: The Fowler believes in the civic duty of museums to give forum to multiple points of view. This series features thought leaders—artists, activists, and allies—who are guiding us along the arc of justice.
Image: Amir H. Fallah, CHANT, 2022; digital rendering of neon sign; courtesy of the artist