October 31, 2014 Washington DC 11:47 PM


Media Relations / Press Releases

VOA Show 'ZirZameen' Explores Art and Activism

VOA's Persian Service program ZirZameen is offered in both English and Farsi to a worldwide audience on satellite and the Internet.
VOA's Persian Service program ZirZameen is offered in both English and Farsi to a worldwide audience on satellite and the Internet.
Unconventional artists and activists narrate their own stories on a new VOA program that seeks to connect underground communities in Iran and the rest of the world.

The twice-monthly TV and web program called ZirZameen is produced by Voice of America’s Persian Service and is available in both English and Farsi editions.  The show, hosted by Mehrnoush Karimian, premiered in December and is available on social media sites, the VOA Persian satellite stream and on Livestation, a 24/7 Internet streaming platform.

Executive Producer and creator Sahar Sarshar says the program was developed to give artists and activists a place to share their stories and passions.  “I want there to be a connection between the people I film and the audience,” Sarshar says.

Each show features two to three artists whose work brings awareness to social issues.  The season’s first episode focuses on the Arab Spring with artists whose roots tie them to the countries in the Middle East, including calligraphist El Seed, who lives in Canada where he uses graffiti to help change public perceptions in Arabic script.
“Graffiti artist Cita Sadeli, aka Chelove, spray-paints a mural in a recent episode of ZirZameen.”“Graffiti artist Cita Sadeli, aka Chelove, spray-paints a mural in a recent episode of ZirZameen.”
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“Graffiti artist Cita Sadeli, aka Chelove, spray-paints a mural in a recent episode of ZirZameen.”
“Graffiti artist Cita Sadeli, aka Chelove, spray-paints a mural in a recent episode of ZirZameen.”

ZirZameen, which in Iran means “underground,” has been quickly gaining attention and an audience on social media, including the program’s Youtube channel, which has attracted more than 10,000 views.  One Facebook fan urged Iranians to stop watching government funded TV, and to “start watching this [ZirZameen] on VOA!”

“The show is crossing so many barriers in the relationship between VOA and the underground community,” says ­Sarshar.  “More and more I am starting to get access to people who would normally say no to VOA. However, I really want to attract the Iranian underground artists, and I’m hoping they will see the show and like it.” 

With guests already lined-up for the next several episodes, Sarshar says the objective is to motivate viewers.  She says, “The goal of this show is to really inspire and touch people in a way where they can think: Wow, I can do this too.”

For more information about this release contact Kyle King at the VOA Public Relations office in Washington at (202) 203-4959, or write kking@voanews.com.  For more information about VOA visit the Public Relations website at www.insidevoa.com, or the main news site at www.voanews.com.

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