I’m really happy to announce this new video series that’s been a couple years in the making! Travels with H is inspired by and linked together by the poetry of Hafiz, a 14th century scholar, Sufi mystic, and poet who lived in Shiraz in the Persian Empire, now Iran. Hafiz continues to this day to be extremely popular in Iran, and influential in much of the Muslim world. Based on research, interviews, and my own artistic interpretations of Hafiz’s poems, I’ve crafted ‘video postcards’ that take both documentary and fictional forms.
I’ve used Hafiz’s poems as a lens through which to see aspects of contemporary life and landscapes, with an emphasis on themes such as daily work and spiritual longing, home and exile, seeking and transformation, and beauty and its diverse manifestations. In these films I wonder about how the questions Hafiz asked in his poems peek out –all these years later and distance away—into our everyday lives. What emerges is a kind of poetic travelogue through the ‘west’ with some verses from the ‘east.’
A note on the title (with more to come): H. is, of course, a reference to Hafiz. As I made these pieces I traveled with Hafiz and his words, or the idea of him and the translations of his words. Time and distance and translation kept me at a distance; and yet what I was exploring felt very close to my heart. H., therefore, is abbreviated, referential. Ultimately perhaps the H. goes beyond even Hafiz to reference something more primal–the Hoo- the active breath of Reality.
As I share these videos weekly through the spring/summer of 2012 on this site, I’ll also share more details about the inspirations, thoughts and process behind making each one.
Please see the Portfolio page for new additions in this series.
This project was funded by the Creative Work Fund, an award competitively granted to artists and organizations in the Bay area for collaborations leading to new art works. It is a program of the Walter and Elise Haas Fund, also supported by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and The James Irvine Foundation.
My partner organization in this endeavor was the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California (ICCNC). ICCNC is a pioneer in the Bay area in presenting new works of arts and culture by or about Muslims, and is a place where various ideas and thoughts about religion and culture are discussed and debated. ICCNC was featured in a New York Times article published in December 2010 as one of the emerging Muslim arts communities in the Bay area.
Produced and Directed by:
Emily LaDue, Tony Urgo, Raeshma Razvi
Raeshma Razvi, Christian Melady, Raj Patel
Ghazal Translations (Farsi to English) by:
Elizabeth H. Gray, Robert Abdul Hayy Darr
Ghazal Adaptations by:
Vynetta Morrow, Raeshma Razvi, Raj Patel
Special thanks to: Ali Sheikholeslami
AND: Mahin Ghazi, Robert Abdul Hayy Darr, Ramiel Rashidi, Nighet Razvi, Inara Mehta
Many thanks to: Raj Patel, Reza Rohani, Mehrnoosh Paya, Omar Razvi, Scott Ryan, Asmat Razvi, Nitesh Mehta, Amina Razvi, Frank Nichols, Arash Shirinbab, Kauser Razvi, Laurence Malroux, Mahin Salon, The Arques School, The Spaulding Wooden Boat Center, Strategic Urban Solutions, Bloom IP and Ikea