Tekah Tekah Project

Led by Afghan American artist Gazelle Samizay, in partnership with ARTogether, the Tekah Tekah Project (Dari: “Piece by Piece”) is a community art project designed to tell the stories of newly-arrived Afghan refugees in the Bay Area. 

Tekah Tekah will be a creative space for Afghan women to tell their own stories drawing from their own narratives and cultural contexts, connecting artists with women from the Afghan refugee community to exploring creative art forms such as embroidery, textile painting, cyanotype, quilt-making, and visual storytelling.

With groups of 5-10 Afghan refugee women participants, 4 community art workshops will be offered monthly in Oakland, each featuring different art forms taught by collaborating refugee and immigrant artists fluent in Dari. 

Exploring each art form, participants will be allowed to explore their own stories, backgrounds, concerns, treasured memories, and other themes that will enable self-expression and an outlet to tell their stories. 

Both individual and collaborative artwork will be explored, with artists guiding individual art projects alongside a group quilt-making project created throughout the workshop series. Each event will also provide food and refreshments, and transportation – a major obstacle for many refugee women – will be provided to and from each in-person event.

Following the workshops, the final community and individual artworks will be presented in a public display event/exhibition, either showcased in-person or virtually, depending on the wishes of our participants and other project constraints. The event will be a safe and welcoming space for Afghan participants to connect with their new communities, and have their stories heard and connected with.

Following the event, the artwork will be featured prominently on ARTogether’s website, with the ownership of all artwork belonging to the artists themselves.

Lead Artist

Born in Kabul, Afghanistan and raised in rural Washington state, Gazelle Samizay’s work often reflects the complexities and contradictions of culture, nationality and gender through the lens of her bicultural identity.

Her work in photography, video and mixed media has been exhibited across the US and internationally, including at Whitechapel Gallery, London; Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery; the California Museum of Photography, Riverside; the de Young Museum, San Francisco; and the Slamdance Film Festival, Park City, UT. Her pieces are part of the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Center for Photography at Woodstock, NY; and En Foco, NY.

In addition to her studio practice, her writing has been published inOne Story, Thirty Stories: An Anthology of Contemporary Afghan American Literature and she is a founding member of the Afghan American Artists and Writers Association. Samizay has received numerous awards and residencies, including from the Princess Grace Foundation, NY; Craft Contemporary, Los Angeles; the Arizona Community Foundation, Phoenix; Level Ground, Los Angeles, the Torrance Art Museum, and Side Street Projects, Los Angeles. She received her MFA in photography at the University of Arizona and currently lives in San Francisco.

Assistant Artist

Katayoun Bahrami is an Iranian multidisciplinary artist and curator living and working in the Bay Area. Her artistic interest focuses on the interaction between women’s bodies as targets/performers, affected by boundaries that act as catalysts between the two.

To convey her ideas, Bahrami uses mixed-media pieces, installations, textiles, videos, and photographs. Her work has been exhibited across the US and internationally. Born in Tehran, Katayoun earned her BFA from the University of Science and Culture in Iran.

She graduated from Michigan State University in 2017 with an MA in Arts and Cultural Management—Museum Studies. In 2022, she graduated from California College of the Arts with an MFA in Studio Arts.

 

 

This project is made possible with the support from California Arts Council.