Shiva Ahmadi's art relates a gripping universal story of beauty and humanity that persists even in the face of the brutalities of war
Growing up in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the artist Shiva Ahmadi recalls, she knew more about Jackson Pollock than Behzad, the master miniature painter of the Safavid court. Indeed, Ahmadi’s distinct painterly style seems to combine the detailed precision of Behzad’s hand with the fluid action painting of Pollock. What emerges is part miniature, part abstract expressionism—a decidedly 21st century art form that is both bold and contemporary.
The confounding world where peace and war coexist, where beauty and destruction twirl together. This, Ahmadi reminds us, is the world seen through the eyes of a small child coming of age in war time Iran who then emigrates to the US to find it also entering a decade of warfare. Her artistic approach—drawing on allegory and imagery and insisting on gentle beautiful aesthetic perspectives keeps the work from becoming dogmatic or didactic.
Michelle Yun, senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Asia Society in New York.