Interview: Ghazaleh Baniahmad
Luca Curci talks with Ghazaleh Baniahmad during CANVAS INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2022, at Palazzo Bembo – Venice Grand Canal.
Contemporary artist Ghazaleh Baniahmad was born in 1983 in Tehran, Iran. She was raised in a family of engineers yet from very young age she knew that art is her only path. She finished her bachelor’s in Graphic Design at AZAD University Central (Art and Architecture) and moved to Canada a few years after in 2011. Exposure to Canadian society and her second bachelor’s in fine arts Drawing and Painting (2016) at OCAD U helped her to find her own way to connect her Iranian style with contemporary art through different mediums. The main focus of her work is on her personal life experiences, which can be relatable to many people. That is the key to having a universal artistic dialogue. She held and curated many groups and solo exhibitions in Tehran Galleries and participated in many group exhibitions in Canada and US.
Luca Curci – What are you currently working on?
Ghazaleh Baniahmad – I always have an interest in human brain, memory and imagination and how these three works together to create an alternative reality. Our imagination alters the real memory in order to make it more bearable. For example, when we lose someone, we only remember the good memories and over time our brain deletes the bad memories. These days, I am working on a project that can illustrate this alteration. With the use of old family photos, I am trying to distinguish the differences between the reality hidden in the photos and the altered image I have in my mind.
LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
GB – I am an Iranian-Canadian immigrant, I and my family moved to Canada 12 years ago. During our immigration, my mother had several strokes that put her on a wheelchair forever. The combination of suffering from immigration difficulties and taking care of my mother had a huge influence on me. During the years that I was alone in Canada with my mom and ups and downs we experienced together, I found many new characteristics hidden in me, many new abilities and I discover my mom’s impact on me. Since then, my focus on my art is simply trying to find more about my childhood, and the people, the moments that might somehow shape me.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
GB – Whenever I find an old picture of any member of my family, whenever I see a beautiful pattern or colour combination that can serve my purpose, whenever I hear a story about my ancestors and how they lived….
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
GB – Yes, as I mentioned before, most of my works are based on my background and my family history, but every now and then I like to pay a visit to my country and my culture and look with a broad eye to not just my own life, but my people, my generation.
LC – How do you choose your subjects? Is it a reasoned or an instinctive process?
GB – I don’t choose my subjects, my subjects come to me during a long research-based process. I play with materials, with paint, and with pictures. I gather pictures and letters and drawings. I combine them, study them and cherish them until something, or a moment starts to plant itself in the painting.
LC – How do you feel when you see your work completed?
GB – Due to the surgery I have to go through in my head and my memories, the process is not easy. Its painful, its full of moments of feeling homesick or missing someone… but in the end the complete work always brings some sort of healing. The research is like the surgery, the painting is like recovery and the moment it is done it feels like that wound is healed!
LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
GB – For me the “CANVAS” is not just the body of an artwork, but the body of the artist intertwin with the work in order to create something meaningful. The result is an expression of a thought digested by the artist and re-shaped in any form of art. Artist’s body and mind has to go through many changes to be able to create another body (the artwork).
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the exhibition’s theme?
GB – My artworks are representation of me, and my family’s bodies gone through time, pain, illness, loss…. Captured a moment of time, a shape of our bodies inside the body of artwork, imprisoned in a frame!
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
GB – ITSLIQUID is a great space, very artistic and unique, offering a great deal of opportunities to emerging artists.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID Group can represent an opportunity for artists?
GB – Yes, ITSLIQUID Group is a well-known group to represents emerging artists and can offer them an open window to new audiences throughout Europe