Rijin Sahakian is a writer and arts organizer. Sahakian obtained an MA in cultural policy from New York University and initiated Sada, a non-profit project conducting arts education, advocacy, and production programs for Baghdad-based artists, which she directed until its closure in the spring of 2015. She has written for various artist projects and publications, and conducted workshops and presentations at numerous arts and education institutions. Most recently, Sahakian was a visiting faculty member at the California Institute of the Arts and guest curator at the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs where she organized the 2014 exhibition, Shangri La: Imagined Cities, and its accompanying critical reader/catalogue.
We are witnessing a historic crisis on such a scale that it may finally force wider acknowledgement of the histories sown in places like Syria and Iraq across the past decades. As current events expose preceding realities, the mechanisms of art and art production may also be revelatory - from the interconnectedness of art and arms funding; artists and questions of class, citizenship, and privilege; and finally, the rise and fall of cultural capital, from artists to objects, that are accumulated, stored, and exhibited under notions of preservation and inquiry.