Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

The New Tara Gallery on Montana Avenue: The Perfect Blend of Art And Charity


The stunning newly opened contempory Tara Gallery on Montana Avenue, had wonderful exhibit this week. Locals, artists and collectors came out to support the evening, which even the cold rain could not put a damper on. Guests mingled and admired the art which showcased the many talents of Iranian artists.

There are many exceptional pieces in this exhibition by the 12 featured artists, which reflect the texture of the artists' rich homeland's nature.

All pieces are available for purchase and proceeds will benefit the American Foundation for Contemporary Iranian Art (AFCIA). The renowned artists which are showcased in the stunning exhibit are Firouzeh Amini,Yaghoob Ammamehpitch, Hamidreza Andarz, Mohsen Azizi, Elika Ebrahimi, Pooneh Jafarinejad, Mahvash Jourabchi, Hossein Khosrowjerdi, Ghasem Mohammadi, Ahmad Vakili, Bita Vakili, Arman Yaghoobpour.

I had the pleasure of chatting with the driving force and Director behind the concept of the gallery, the charming Homa Taraji. She has been a curator of contemporary Iranian art in the United States since 2002 and has organized several successful exhibitions in Los Angeles, New York, Houston and Boston. She has established working relationships with art galleries, collectors, and a broad range of artists whose work she represents in the U.S. Taraji is co-founder and president of the American Foundation for Contemporary Iranian Art (AFCIA) (, a non-profit organization for promotion of contemporary Iranian art in the U.S. In parallel with arts, Taraji is a senior engineer at the Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, CA, where she develops and manages domestic and international customers for space systems technology. Prior to Aerospace, Taraji was the Manager of Information Systems at the Getty Museum. Before that, she held the position of IT Senior Manager at Ernst & Young Management Consulting. She was with General Electric Information Services as a project manager of financial applications in New York and Los Angeles. She started her career as a software engineer at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena working on Voyager mission to Jupiter and Saturn. Homa Taraji holds a B.S. degree in Physics and an M.S. in Electronics from Tehran University and an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Southern California. She has been the recipient of NASA Group Achievement Award, Goddard Trophy, Milstar Recognition Award, and several GE technical awards.

A wonderful lady that you cannot help but be enamored by. She is a strong force who is truly committed to supporting Iranian Art, she truly wants to give back to the community and support the arts, this shows in her passion. Mrs. Taraji said at the exhibit, "The Iranian revolution has had an unexpected impact on the development of art in Iran. Since many sources of Western style entertainment were cut off, creativity incubated among the artists. The result is a wealth of fascinating art with distinctive style and message. On a trip to Iran in 2001 (after being away for 15 years), I discovered this untapped wealth of artwork and recognized thatIranian paintings have not yet received the international recognition they deserve. I decided then to focus on exposing it worldwide."

The gallery is located at 1202B Montana Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90403. It is certainly worth stopping by to see the unique art and to meet Homa and her right hand assistant Director, the lovely Modje Taavon.


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