Today we're featuring a brand new to 20x200 artist, painter Negar Ahkami . As a first-generation American born to Iranian parents, Ahkami's work is heavily influenced both by Persian-Islamic traditions and Western notions of the individual, personal emotions and experimentation. Her first collaboration with us, Backsplash , is powerful, wonderful and impossible to resist.
Like many children born to immigrant parents, Negar Ahkami's contemplations on the duality of her identity continue to inform her life—and work. She uses her art to select the aspects of each culture she wants to own, on her own terms. In Backsplash, sapphire textures and patterns sweep the frame, reflecting the influence of Persian-Islamic art on Negar's work. The stylized representation and symbolism are reminiscent of beautifully illuminated Persian manuscripts, decorative tiles and rugs. But the painting is also uniquely Western and of her imagination—a work that is emotional and impossible to categorize.
"In Backsplash, a melting cityscape evokes a power plant and Iran’s beautiful blue-tiled mosques. The melting architecture produces a green counter-wave that contains defiant faces and limbs—a metaphor for the imperiled protestors against Iran’s theocratic regime. The monolithic meltdown satirizes the Iranian regime’s flamboyant failure on a world stage. Cartoonisly spreading towards Manhattan, it also satirizes Islamophobia, and fears of a nuclear Iran." —Negar Ahkami
We got to know Negar when working on an amazing project supplying unique pieces of art for The Alexander in Indianapolis, and we had been following her career for some time, including news of her successful shows at Leila Heller Gallery and in her group show, “The Seen and the Hidden: [Dis]Covering the Veil,” at the Austrian Cultural Forum in Manhattan.
We think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship with the painter (hint: keep your eyes on your newsletters for more artist news from Ahkami in the coming months!).
With art for everyone,
Jen + team 20x200