Wk13: Artist Conversation

Shahrzad Ahrar

When I walked in the Dutzi-gallery the kaleidoscopes caught my attention. Each kaleidoscope was set on top on of a stand which had different labels but on the side they all said “pick me up”. When I looked inside the kaleidoscopes, it was so beautiful; the bright colors the different shapes and sizes. Inside the gallery there was many pieces. I thought it was a collaboration between artist because there was three different sections. Each section, the artist Shahrzad Ahrar was based on a different individual.  

Artist Ahrar came to the U.S. seven years ago from Iran. The inspiration for her show Wake, came from her personal experience. Artist Ahrar, was curios about how other people from different culture, where affected by immigration. Shahrzad Ahrar said, that she was curios because she was homesick. She began working on this project two years ago. She began by interviewing people but she said that it was hard to get people, that were ok with her putting their stories in her show.

In her show, she featured four people; Omar, Ali, Sara, and Hrvoje. For each, the artist created a section; sections in which she describes their life before and after they immigrated to the U.S.  For Omar from Afghanistan ,she created a wallpaper. The wallpaper was navy blue, white, gold and silver. The details in the wallpaper are amazing. “I chose to tell Omar’s story through wallpaper, because its close affinity to the idea of home”( Ahrah).

For Ali from Iran, she used kaleidoscopes, in each kaleidoscope she had small figure made of colorful pastic. Each figure she designed herself and sent them to a company to print them. The kaleidoscopes represented,“that the earth is moving, everything is shifting, new experiences, challenges but most important a new life”, (Ahrah).

Sara immigrated from El Salvador to the U.S. at the age of twenty-one. To illustrate Sara’s immigration, the artist used 3D light boxes. Each layer represented the layers of immigration and Sara’s life. In the piece the artist includes both the El Salvador’s flag and the U.S.

Three posters represent the life of Hrvoje who immigrated from Croatia. “It illustrates images of his memories; his extreme feelings of the time when the war broke out in his native land, when he arrived in New York for the first time and when he stayed in Mississippi during his graduate studies”, (Ahrah).

In each section the artist captured their life before and after they immigrated. How each person felt and still feels about migrating to the U.S. I asked the artist if, she chose people from countries that were only affected by war, but she said it was all a coincidence. I personally can not relate entirely with immigrating to the, U.S but my parents can. Both of my parents immigrated from Mexico to the U.S. My parents immigrated to the U.S  not because their country was at war but to look for a better future. Thanks to the fact that my parents immigrated, I am able to have a better future. A future that I probably would have fought for, in my parents native land.

unfortunately the artist currently does not have a website.

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