Before We Were Banned is a platform elevating art and culture of the banned countries (Muslim Ban 1.0) and other threatened communities in the United States.

By subverting executive order 13769 and other discriminative laws in the United States, we wish to cultivate a platform for creatives of these communities to write their own narrative, while addressing the duality of living in the [new] America as an immigrant.

Curated by the Brooklyn-based Iranian duo, Kiana Pirouz and Mahya Soltani, Before We Were Banned first and foremost celebrates the art and culture of these communities and in due course aims to repudiate the falsely antagonistic image portrayed of them.

We organize art shows, meet ups, dinner parties, open mics, conferences, labs and more; all in an effort to empower these communities. As we take Before We Were Banned on the road  we wish to address local issues and create a cultural conversation by encouraging collaborations and meaningful connections with the local community.


Mahya Soltani

Born in Tehran, and raised between Tehran and Dubai, Mahya Soltani is an Iranian designer and visual artist currently residing in Brooklyn, New York. After practicing as a designer and an art director in Dubai, UAE for four years Mahya moved to United States to pursue her MFA in Design Entrepreneurship at School of Visual Arts in New York. Her practice as an artist engages time as a tool challenging expectations and perceptions while delineating the existence of alternate realities.

Kiana Pirouz

Kiana Pirouz immigrated to Atlanta, Georgia from Tehran, Iran at the age of 3. After attending the University of Georgia with a degree in Journalism, she has spent over a decade working in media and marketing in New York City. Fusing her interests (music & art) with her knowledge (media & immigrant life experience) in her personal work, Kiana is focused creating strategies and avenues for the marginalized to maintain and spread their authentic narrative while leveraging the tools of mass media to ignite cultural conversations and illuminate real stories.