January 31 at 9:00 PM, February 1 at 9:00 PM, & February 4 at 9:00 PM

Runtime: 45 minutes

Masks are required for all SUITE/Space performances, except mask-optional installation spaces. After each performance of Meet Me Between Tehran and Mbabane, the theater will transition into a mask optional space for the tea service, and those who wish to stay will be served tea and cookies until 10:30pm.

Mabou Mines
150 First Avenue (Second Floor), NYC 10009


Inviting you into her global-diaspora experience, artist Nava Derakhshani sets the stage of belonging between these two cities. The first is her mother’s birthplace in Tehran, Iran and the second is her own in Eswatini, Africa.

Shadow play is used for world-building while exploring Iranian-African dance fusion. Expanding on themes of migration and loss, the work speaks to the Woman Life Freedom movement in Iran. It integrates storytelling from the artist’s mother and khaleh (aunt) while using protest chants from the streets of Iran. The performance is animated by live piano and percussion, where dance is conceptualized as a form of spiritual resistance.

Tea will be served after the show.

Content Warnings: Revolution themes from Iran, including execution verdicts


Photo credit: Ahmed Gaber

Nava Derakhshani (she/her/hers) is a New York-based mixed-media artist. Born to Iranian parents in eSwatini, her work explores themes of migration, identity, belonging, gender, and the natural environment. She holds a BA in architecture from the University of Cape Town. Her Master’s in Sustainable Development took her to rural Ethiopia where she used photography and oral histories to explore spiritual ties to farming and conservation. Her practice is influenced by her experience in low-cost eco-housing and urban design, as well as her NGO and grassroots work in human rights, social justice, and sustainability. Her work has been presented at the Johannesburg International Art Fair, the UN FAO Rome headquarters, Cape Town Queer Feminist Film Festival, the Washington Post, Lensscratch, and Aint-Bad Magazine, among others.


Special Thanks

Special thanks to my Mom and Khaleh joon for your brave and raw recollections.

You are my inspiration. I love you dearly. Thank you to my team of collaborators who went above and beyond to recreate this the work with me. For your generosity, inspiration, and creativity. Thank you for the kind support from the Mabou Mines team and advisors. A huge thank you to my team at The Center for the Less Good Idea for creating space to make this work possible.

Meet Me Between Tehran and Mbabane was first conceptualised and produced at The Center for the Less Good Idea, Johannesburg, South Africa. Co-curated by Mandla Mbothwe and Athena Mazarakis, and developed by the artist in collaboration with Thulisile Binda, Muzi Shili & Sibahle Mangena (dance and choreography), Cara Stacey (music), Bongile Gorata Lecoge-Zulu (direction), and Nthabiseng Malaka (costume design). The work was premiered in New York at Culture Lab LIC as part of their Annonymously from Iran group show directed and produced by the artist.