Fatemeh Burnes first came to the United States in 1973, spent a five-year period between three continents, and settled in Southern California in 1977. Classically trained in Persian art and verse, Burnes also studied biology, modern Persian poetry, and western artistic practice – including painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, art history, and exhibition design – in Iran, Europe, and ultimately in California, where she received her BFA and MFA in art and art history.
Since 1992 Burnes has served as gallery director and curator as well as full-time professor of drawing and design at Mt. San Antonio College. She has curated over 100 exhibitions, authored numerous publications, conducted art-education documentaries, and worked with an international array of artists and art professionals. She has exhibited her own work nationally and internationally since the 1980s.