Sahand Sahebdivani fled from Iran as a child during the Iran-Iraq war. The experience of him and his family being refugees provided the basis for many of Sahand’s artistic works. One of the things that fascinates him is the genuine interest for the refugee as an individual that existed in the 1980s, because there wasn’t yet a mass flow of refugees. As he was growing up, he often felt he had to be “grateful” for the new homeland that his parents chose to live in freedom, so people are often surprised to learn that his family ended up here by accident: getting stuck on their way to Canada. For them, there was no dream of the Netherlands at all.
Sahand is well-known as a founder of the Mezrab — a cultural venue in the East of Amsterdam. He has also received the Herman Divendal award in 2017 and has been chosen as a Storyteller of the Year in 2014.
“In the West there is an idea that I come from an “enlightened” country. A place where people spend their days meditating and praying, but, with my background, the difference between Tehran and Amsterdam was not that large. Conversely, my Iranian family members feel that the Netherlands is too “materialistic”: people drink and party every day and never think about the future. Also a prejudice that is not true. I have the privileged position of seeing both cultures from the inside, as well as from the outside. I want to show that in Sons of Abraham.”