Jasmine Melvin-Koushki

Art Historian, Designer, Nomad, Thinker, Writer

Blue Diwan -

Born in Revolutionary Iran to a Persian father and an Irish-American mother, Jasmine received her B.A. from Yale in the History of Art. Raised in Riyadh, Istanbul, Boston and Kuwait, her focus on Islamic art and architecture was only natural; moved by a love of ornament and unorthodox perspective, her thesis on Persian miniature painting was inevitable. This summer, she is Curator of "Breaking the Veils: Women Artists from the Islamic World", a traveling exhibit hosted in Fall 2009 by the Council on Middle East Studies at Yale University and organized by the Royal Society of Fine Arts of Jordan and Femme Art Méditerranée of Greece. A collection of 71 modern and contemporary works now on a 3-year tour of the U.S., "Breaking the Veils" is designed to harness the unique power of the visual arts to challenge tiresome stereotypes and build understanding of the contemporary Islamicate world. Jasmine is also a leading organizer of "Transnational Tides and the Future of the Arab City," an international conference on urban sustainability presented by the Yale Arab Alumni Association and slated to take place in Beirut in October 2009. An artist and philosopher at heart, Jasmine will co-direct 'Beauty and the Brain', an interdisciplinary working group at Yale designed to explore the relationship between neurocognition and the visual arts, for 2009-10. She spent last summer at Kuwait University, where she taught a course on the architecture of ancient civilizations, and she has been the Kuwait culture correspondent for Dia Diwan, an online Middle East fashion/culture/lifestyle magazine based in London and Beirut, since 2008. Previously, she spent a year handling Near East materials for Harvard's Aga Khan Program in Islamic Architecture and a year cataloging Persian materials for Yale’s Near Eastern Collection at Sterling Memorial Library. At all times, her travel and work serve as inspiration for her ambitions in fashion: 2010 will see the creation of a bespoke couture collection that bridges the aesthetics of east and west and merges the vocabulary of body and intellect.