Mahsa Alafar is an Iranian artist, educator, and researcher currently residing in the US and serving as a Visiting Artist at GVSU. She holds a bachelor's degree from Tehran University and a master's degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she was awarded the New Artist Society Merit Scholarship. While not affiliated with Islam, as a Muslim-born woman, Mahsa takes a critical stance on issues of social, political, and cultural discrimination against women, often drawing upon Iranian traditions and Islamic culture. As a woman from the Middle East living in the West, she also explores methods of decolonization and desexualization, specifically with regards to the Western gaze surrounding the terms "Orient" and "Orientalism".