Shahla Etemadzadeh (Jamal) is an Iranian artist who is now based in Canada. It was in her youth when Shahla first began sketching, and her passion for the arts has since become her life’s commitment. Shahla says that as a teenager she was heavily inspired by her father who created wonderful paintings and drawings. Behazin- the pen name of Shahla’s father Mahmoud- was a renowned author and translator of literature, and became a great influence on her work for years to come.
Shahla studied art at the University of Tehran, and later moved to London and then Paris to continue her studies. Back in Iran, she was moved by the poor living conditions that affected the working classes and this was very much reflected in her politically conscious art and expressive oil paintings.
Following the Iranian revolution Shahla moved to Germany and later to the US and finally Canada, where she now lives with her family. The experience of living in various countries and cultures has had a profound impact on her work. Shahla believes that wherever she has lived her art has continually gained inspiration from new cultures. She says, ” it would be ideal to get that influence while retaining the purity of my native identity”. That is a theme that Shahla explores in her latest series entitled Nostalgia Museum, a journey to the depths of history to capture and recreate ancient Iranian treasures from a new perspective. Her virtual museum is a collection of 32 objects discovered and maintained in Iran for centuries, and subsequently conveyed to museums abroad. These paintings represent Shahla’s fascination with the culture of her homeland, expressing unfulfilled yearning towards her elusive ancient heritage.
Shahla Etemadzadeh has participated in over 50 joint and solo exhibitions in Iran and abroad and is a member of the Ontario Society of Artists. In this multimedia report, she describes the various genres of her paintings and the inspiration behind her current series, Nostalgia Museum.
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