Haig Papazian
Safe Haven Residency
at Westbeth

Haig Papazian is a Lebanese Armenian artist, composer, and architect born in Beirut. He is a founding member and violinist Mashrou’ Leila, the Lebanese pop band whose electro-pop anthems about political freedoms, race, and modern Arabic identity have challenged the status quo of the Middle-Eastern music industry. Their politically-charged lyrics have led to the band experiencing censorship and persecution in many countries, brought on by religious and state authorities, as well as popular outcry. Many of the band’s appearances, including concerts and speaking engagements, have been forcibly canceled by the regulating authorities.

An architect by training, Haig has participated in the inaugural edition of the Home Workspace program in Beirut, and has completed his graduate studies in Architectural history at the Bartlett school of Architecture in London. Papazian’s visual work, which explores the intersections between city-making processes, cultural productions and undocumented historical narratives, has been shown in Sharjah at SB11 March Meeting 2013, at Homeworks 6 in Beirut, Videonale15 in Germany, and at Gallery Kit in Trondheim Academy of Fine Art, Norway.

Alongside Mashrou’ Leila, Haig has performed at sold out venues and festivals across the Arab region, Europe, and North America. He’s been an artist in residence at NYU; has campaigned with Greenpeace in an initiative to promote solar energy across the Mediterranean, and has participated in the BLOCK 9 & BANKSY Creative Retreat alongside Brian Eno, Roisin Murphy and more. He has held public talks at NYU, Columbia University, Concordia, Darmouth College, Sciences Po, and has recently performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as part of Oliver Beer’s Vessel Orchestra. Haig has recently published an op-Ed in the New York Times on the cost of being queer and Arab and for France Culture, a love letter in the form of an essay to “Beyrouth et Beyrouth, travail en cours.”

SHIM:NYC (“Safe Haven Incubator for Music NYC”) is a six month creative and professional residency and mentorship program for international musicians who are persecuted or censored for their work. Hosted at Westbeth Artists Housing, SHIM:NYC was launched by AFI and Tamizdat, and is part of our New York City Artist Safe Haven Residency Program. Haig will be the first SHIM:NYC musician-in-residence to benefit from our new partnership with New York Voices, a program of Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater.

New York Voices is the artist commissioning program of Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater. As part of The Public Theater’s long history of cultivating the country’s most celebrated artists, this program supports the creation of new works by critically-acclaimed musicians and performers.

New York Voices encourages artists to explore their storytelling, narratives and songwriting processes, and includes a variety of developmental and practical resources. Each commission culminates with a run of live shows on the Joe’s Pub stage. The program successfully connects artists with their contemporaries and significantly expands their ability to reach wider audiences. Many of the commissioned works have toured nationally and internationally. We are honored to welcome Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater and New York Voices to SHIM:NYC!

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