Iranian visual artist Ahoo Hamedi is well known for her mixed media works that are no less than a visual feast. With an exhibition history in Tehran’s most notable galleries and a practice sectioned to the seekers of ethereal beauty and imagination, we sat down with Ahoo to find out the secrets behind her signature plexiglass, her visions and more!
When did you decided to become a visual artist?
As a child, I was very drawn to the visual arts and found I could easily depict my visions creatively. I studied graphics at the art school in Tehran and then went to complete my undergraduate degree in painting. Fortunately, I was on my way quickly to fulfilling my childhood aspirations!
Your style is ever evolving, from painting to watercolour to plexiglass. Talk us through this...
I am fascinated by water base medium and what it brings with it. Transparency, lightness and a weightlessness are all very important to me and I found these in my use of ink and watercolour. But some of these intended effects disappeared when the ink or paint dried. I then went on to discover plexiglass - a medium that fulfilled the role of ink without loosing the magical shine that comes with it!
Tell us a little more about why you chose to work with plexiglass.
I was drawn to this medium because of it's airy and light nature, there's so much to play with when using plexiglass! Usually, when an artist uses ink there is a visible shine that disappears when the ink dries off. By using plexiglass, this shine is eternal, the works feel alive. The colours are permanently vivid and the subject matter takes a life of it's own!
Do you wish to highlight any part of Persian culture through your work?
The advantage of using plexiglass is that it transcends the work into multiple dimensions, by working with lighting and shadows there's so much to play with. Using plexi allows me to explore playing with these elements through my work to highlight a rich element of Persian culture: our traditional coloured glass windows. I recreate similar shadows to those prominent in traditional Persian culture: from religious places to traditional tea houses and public spaces, coloured glass windows adorn Iran to this day. I also use elements such as plants and birds all inspired by nature.
So beautiful! The shadows in your work are therefore as important as the plexiglass itself, how would a collector play around with this?
The viewer can engage with creativity using different levels of light in the room, more light increases the impact of the subject matter in the work. If the work is placed in sunlight, the artworks experience both a sunset and sunrise, sleeping and rising with us day and night.
Art has the ability to shift viewers feelings and emotions, how do you wish to impact your viewers?
At first, the human form and the emotions we exhibit played a key role in my work - but over time, plants slowly started seeping into my work, perhaps because of my own life’s day to day and my attention to my surroundings. Every object in my work leads to weightlessness and the feeling of being effortlessly transported into one’s limitless imagination. The nature and/or human forms are positioned to activate the feeling of sightlessness for the viewer that will ultimately positively affect their mental wellbeing (I hope).
What other themes do you wish your viewers to take away from your works?
It's different, it depends on each painting, in my portraiture works you can feel the soul of the human that’s the subject matter and how this ultimately resonates with the viewer is open to personal interpretation. In my vase series I want the viewer to enjoy a beautiful object but also to appreciate the development of our human civilization and history - fragile yet beautiful traditions where we are a product of this history.
You recently got commissioned to create a stamp for Canada post! How does it feel to have your design / work in such a public context?
It's definitely a very new experience, it was very rewarding for me to have my light and pattern work be selected for such a global and public entity - to know such a delicate creative theme translator to a wider majority audience is certainly amazing to say the least.
What message do you hope to convey through your works?
I prefer to leave it to the spectator to build her / his own impression and feeling when viewing my works!