The fantastical realms portrayed in Shiva Ahmadi’s large-scale paintings and animated video adaptations teeter on the threshold of annihilation, as a menagerie of Orwellian creatures carelessly brandishes bombs, hand grenades, and pipes. Stability and security are at their mercy; chaos is poised to erupt. Based in California but born in Tehran, Ahmadi was a witness to the destruction of the Iran-Iraq War at a formative time of her life. Her art reflects this experience in exploring the intersections of religion and politics, power and corruption, and the psychic landscape of war — a fearsome, controlling power that threatens to spin out of control at any moment. The delicate lines, gold tracery, and tiny figures suggest Persian and Indian miniature paintings transposed to a grand scale. The watercolor, imprecise and flecked with hair, rice, and salt granules — elements that introduce uncontrolled effects — conveys a precarious foundation beneath the precise, mechanistic imagery of war.
- Installation Views
Currently based in Davis, California, Shiva Ahmadi draws on the intricate designs of traditional Indian, Persian, and Turkish arts for fanciful works that explore the influence and impact of religion and war. Her work is represented in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Asia Society Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and has been exhibited internationally.