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Titan Spotlight

Art Alumna Named 2024 Artist in Residence at MUZEO Museum and Cultural Center

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Iranian American artist and Cal State Fullerton alumna Mahtab Mohammadi ’23 (M.F.A. art) was named the Makers @ MUZEO 2024 Artist in Residence. Mohammadi will be creating on-site at the MUZEO Museum and Cultural Center in Anaheim in the museum’s historic Carnegie Gallery. She will be at the gallery from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursdays and Saturdays from June 1-22.

During her MUZEO residency, Mohammadi’s on-site work will focus on her artistic and personal journey as told through the intricate patterns and history of Persian gardens. Visitors are encouraged to engage with the artist and try their hand at creating a monoprint during their visit to the museum.

Mohammadi did not initially set out to become an artist. In Iran, she studied chemistry and later pursued a career in art when she moved to the United States with her family in 2012. After taking life drawing classes in community college, she discovered an affinity for the human form, which would dramatically shape her work.

A piece from Mahtab Mohammadi’s Persian Garden Series

Mohammadi paints from her lived experience as a woman raised in a male-dominated society punctuated by war, violence and discrimination. Her canvases are filled edge-to-edge with rich color and Persian, Islamic, Western and pop culture symbolism, evoking both her early years in Iran and her experiences as a new immigrant to the U.S.

In her large-scale painting “Untitled,” Michelangelo’s “David” is depicted with a cartoonish rainbow obscuring his face and set against a continuous pattern of Persian tiles. The work can be viewed as a commentary on her conservative Iranian upbringing versus the comparative freedom of expression found in Western cultures.

In 2022, “Untitled” was awarded Best of Exhibition (2nd place) and the City Manager’s Award at the Lancaster Museum of Art and History’s 37th Annual Juried Exhibition. It was later purchased by the Lancaster Museum of Art and History for its permanent collection.

In 2022, Mohammadi was awarded a $5,000 grant from the MOZAIC Philanthropic Organization and featured in a group exhibition of its grant recipients.

Read more about her story in the Orange County Register.

Heather Richards-Siddons