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Azin Seraj


B. 1982

Iranian artist Azin Seraj applies an interdisciplinary approach to her work to highlight marginalized experiences. Seraj utilizes video, photography, and mixed media installations to explore connections between colonial histories, grassroots journalism, activist networks, and contemporary politics in North Africa, South Asia, and South West Asia.

Seraj’s digitally created Syrian banknotes featured in Cultural Currency were drawn from a subset of her series, Concurrency, a body of work that investigates the symbolic imagery found in government-issued banknotes used to influence and construct national identity. By appropriating, altering, and weaving together cultural icons, historical narratives, and political messages, Seraj undermines and subverts the role of currency as propaganda for the ruling class. Her subseries, Foreign Currency, further highlights the voices of resistance within countries that have been impacted by U.S. national interests. The resulting banknotes feature influential figures and monumental events to draw attention to socio-political tensions within a country’s borders and beyond.

One of Seraj’s altered banknotes included in the exhibition, In Honor of Naji al Jerf, calls attention to the vital work of journalists. Seraj states, “Naji al Jerf was a Syrian journalist, filmmaker, activist, editor, and co-founder of the citizen journalist group, Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently. Naji trained many journalists, filmmakers, and activists throughout his life. His nickname was “Uncle” because of the generosity and compassion he shared with his community. He risked his life by taking a vow to expose ISIS war crimes/uncovering their secrets in Syria and was assassinated by ISIS in Turkey in 2015. He was amongst the first journalists who documented the Syrian Civil War and shared it with the world.” Seraj’s piece starkly contrasts a stoic portrait of Naji al Jerf alongside Shmemis castle near his birthplace with imagery of his funeral. 

Azin Seraj is an Iranian native and Canadian citizen currently living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. Seraj’s work has been featured internationally in exhibitions and festivals, including the SFMOMA, the Open Space Arts Society in Canada, Tate Liverpool, (S8) Monstra De Cinema Periférico in Spain, the Berkeley Art Museum, the Chicago Underground Film Festival, among other art institutions and festivals. She was also the 2019 recipient of the Kala Media Artist Award. Seraj holds a BA from the University of Victoria, Canada, and an MFA from U.C. Berkeley.


Myrtle Beach’s Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum strives to be one of the finest visual arts museums in the Carolinas. With 11 galleries that change throughout the year, Myrtle Beach’s only art museum offers exhibitions featuring paintings, textiles, sculpture, photography, video, ceramics, assemblage, collage and more. A visit to the Art Museum’s exhibitions can be enhanced by its lively programming, including artist receptions, tours, lectures, workshops and classes for both adults and children.