Niccu Tafarrodi is an Iranian artist and a Board Member for the Twin Cities Iranian Culture Collective. Tafarrodi creates dioramas based on her memories and experiences in Iran, to highlight Iranian culture.
Tafarrodi started making dioramas after visiting a museum in Chicago and seeing the art form for the first time. “I thought to myself, why is there nothing to show Iran?” she recalls. After that experience, she started learning how to make dioramas to uplift Iranian culture.
Tafarrodi also uses her memories of Iran as inspiration to create her dioramas. She says that her dioramas are for everyone, serving to help Iranians celebrate their culture, while helping Americans learn more about it. “I try to introduce our culture, our nationality and our…social values,” Tafarrodi explains. “My message is not only for Iranians, it’s for Americans. My goal is mostly to educate people because they were born here and they are very curious about our history.”
Her dioramas can take years to make and are made out of materials like plastic, beads, and even Iranian jewelry. Tafarrodi emphasizes that although dioramas take a lot of work, they can have a big impact on viewers. “Diorama[s] to me [are] much more powerful than book[s] or writing articles because as soon as you look at a diorama, you can see its roots, what life was like.”