Connecting people to their communities through art is what drives Pegah Ahani-Masooleh. As a TV host and community leader, she believes she has a responsibility to seek out those who do not have a voice and to use her platform to give them one.
Her drive is fueled by her own artistic pursuits as a singer as well as her love for Vancouver, a city that took her family in as they fled revolution in Iran.
“My passion lies in art,” says Ahani-Masooleh. “That's the fundamental thing to take away from any of my work. That I'm an artist and that I love to share art.”
This desire to share art and affect social change is influenced by her family’s history as immigrants from a country that underwent huge social and structural upheaval.
“My parents were very forward-thinking and, they were very, you know, they were progressive,” she says. “They came out of a country that was going through a revolution.”
In moving to Canada when she was young, she recognizes her parents were considering the future she could have. This included a life where she would be able to pursue her passion, which became art.
And it is through her work with Vancouver TV that allows her to champion art within the city where she has worked as a television host and producer of her own show for the past two years.
For Ahani-Masooleh, there is value not only in how art makes us feel, but in how it brings people together.
“I love people,” she says. “I want to connect to people. I want them to interact, I want them to find a place between all these borders where they can find a commonality, and they can find a place where they can really connect and relate to each other. And that's art."
The path to where Ahani-Masooleh has ended up was not straightforward. In fact, it took many twists and turns, setbacks and obstacles, to find artistic and career fulfilment.
She spent six years away studying political science in Toronto only to discover that city was not for her. Even though she says Toronto “beat me up,” she grew from the experience and the relationships she made.
But it was a degree at Simon Fraser University in journalism, which showed her a way to combine her desire to bring about change and her passion for art.
She also credits her family and friends in helping her heal.
“It was just nice to have that, you know, that group of people to encourage you to get back up.”
Ahani-Masooleh says art enables people to articulate what they may not be able to put into words.
“To me, it always goes back to art,” says Ahani-Masooleh. “It always goes back to art.”
Pegah Ahani-Masooleh is a TV reporter and singer, and loves connecting to people through artistic expression. Her new single and music video Glitter or Gold will be released on all streaming platforms on September 3rd, 2020, and she can be found on Spotify as Delo Darya, and on Instagram at Delo_ Daryaa.
Ahani-Masooleh will also be singing live at Art Downtown every week until Sept 30.
By Nathan Durec