Sept. 28, 2017
We had lunch with Niyaz. Azam Ali and Loga Ramin Torkian and their collaborators joined us for a weeklong series of conversations about the intersection of art and technology, immigration, the relationship between Islam and Sufism, and their latest work, The Fourth Light Project, which focuses on the life and work of Rabia al-Basri, an eighth-century Muslim saint and the first female Sufi mystic. Micah and Chuy sat down with the artists at the Iowa City Public Library for this conversation that kicked off the super stellar week. Niyaz—known for its contemporary electroacoustic trance music that blends Sufi poetry with folk music from Iran and surrounding countries—embraces the collision of the old and new as a means to create the unique and affecting. The artists are part of Hancher's Embracing Complexity project, which takes a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to building understanding of contemporary Islamic cultures and Muslim identity.