L’Eclectique is attracted by the colourful and vibrant paintings of the artist and globetrotter Shirin Sahba. She celebrates the diversity of people, places, and traditions, and revels in the joy of the journey itself. Here’s an interview with the artist full of horizons.
Can you tell us more about you? How and when did you start to create?
I have never been to Iran, and I doubt I can go in my lifetime. I was born to Iranian parents, an architect & artist, and by five I’d lived in three continents, with my family finally settling on the Mediterranean. Unable to return to Iran due to religious persecution (Baha’is are forbidden from practicing their religion in Iran) my parents saw to it that I accompanied them to dozens of countries for work and travel, developing in me an identity as a citizen of the world. Since I was a toddler, I was encouraged to draw & sketch everything that I saw on our many travels.
I also feel that cultures that are not actively represented in the lucrative yet eurocentric art world must now be given the long overdue exposure and attention that it deserves.
Your artworks are poetic and tell little stories, do you feel that art & personal stories have the power to make people connect beyond their different cultures and religions?
I definitely feel that art can and should bring people together and allow them to see what we all have in common as a human race. I also feel that cultures that are not actively represented in the lucrative yet eurocentric art world must now be given the long overdue exposure and attention that it deserves. By being an Iranian in a commercial art world I have the privilege to represent a new and fresh perspective to an often western audience, but also I often have people from other lesser represented cultures telling me that for the first time they see themselves in my art, and this makes me incredibly happy.
There’s a light feeling of joy and peace in your artworks. Is it a choice for you to share only positive and soft emotions from your art of wandering?
Although, I believe it is the duty of artists to show the truth of what the world is with all it’s weaknesses, disunity, prejudice and war, but it also has the potential to show the positive parts of mankind and give the world an optimistic vision for what it could be.
What are you next horizons?
I am preparing and looking forward to my solo exhibition in Barcelona on May 19th 2018 at Galeria Cromo, and I have a new book titled New Horizons: The Art of Wandering coming out in San Francisco that is available for pre-order and will be released on May 1st around the world.
And for the last question, what is the most important book of your life?
This is an incredibly difficult question to answer. So many books have been so formative to me as an artist. One that comes to mind is Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ 100 Years of Solitude. He showed me how to blur the line between the very real and the incredibly surreal.