Ata Alishahi

Ata Alishahi

When I make art, whatever my medium, I enter an internal world of light and creativity, and I escape the external world of shadow and destruction. While I am painting, I not only live in this light-filled world, I create it. In this sense, I have always made art for myself: to alleviate my own suffering and the painful memories of the war and violence I witnessed, even as a child. Yet although this work is therapeutic for me, my finished pieces also ask the viewer to join me in experiencing these beautiful worlds, and celebrating the triumph of light and color over darkness.

I paint with the same precision and techniques that traditional artists use, but via the digital medium. I became fascinated with digital technologies during my work in computer technology, and I educated myself in the software that enabled me to make art using this extraordinary new method. Although I prefer this medium, I recognize that every visual image, regardless of how it was made, is primarily a message, a story to be told and interpreted.

My work tells the story of a world without darkness—a world that the viewer longs to enter. My goal is to depict the opposite of destruction: peace, order, love and light.

Although there is always an awareness of shadows in my art, it is for the purpose of contrast only. In the same way that I choose to focus on positive thoughts, I choose to feed these thoughts with visual representations of beauty, innocence and color: qualities that I believe are best represented by the natural world and the female form. For this reason, the three dominant subjects in my work are women, nature and animals. These three entities have suffered most at the hands of mankind’s greed, and I use intense colors to redeem their suffering and capture their sublime beauty.

Brilliant colors are a hallmark of my work. Color is a language unto itself, and I use this language to speak to the soul and calm the mind. Because every color is some combination of pure darkness (black) and pure light (white), the bold use of color in my pieces represents the way that all experiences—good and bad—can combine to create something beautiful.

Often, we have no choice in whether or not we are exposed to suffering, but we all have a choice in how we respond to suffering. When I was suffering, I was immersed in darkness, always seeking light. Art has shown me that light. I choose to make art and in this way, I choose to fight darkness and pain.

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