Shiva Ahmadi

Ahmadi was born in Tehran, Iran in 1975. Her upbringing, which is reflected in her art, was marked by the Iranian Revolution and the Iran–Iraq War. She obtained a bachelor of fine art from Azad University in 1998 and right after moved to USA to pursue her graduate studies. She completed her first MFA in drawing from Wayne State University in 2003. The same year she attended an artist residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.[6]In 2005 Ahmadi obtained her second MFA, in painting, at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Ahmadi was appointed as an Associate Professor of Art at the University of California, Davis in 2015.

Ahmadi’s practice borrows from the artistic traditions of Iran and the Middle East to critically examine contemporary political tensions. Incorporating cultural symbols Ahmadi has taken a critical look at current social and political issues.

Her work often mirrors the patterned design of Persian miniatures and has included embedded depictions of war, corruption or religion. Known for her achievements in painting, her later career has been marked by the use of video-animation. Her latest animation titled Ascend (2017) was inspired by the death of Aylan Kurdi and Syrian refugee crisis in 2015.

Ahmadi’s work is included in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Asia Society Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the DePaul Art Museum, the Morgan Library & Museum, the Asian Art Museum in San Fransisco, the TDIC Corporate Collection in the United Arab Emirates, and the Farjam Collection in Dubai. Her piece Pipes was acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2014.

Shiva Ahmadi, Ascend (2017) from Leila Heller Gallery on Vimeo.