This week I had that pleasure of meeting such a unique and creative person named Shahrzad Ahrar and her work was displayed in Dennis W. Dutzi Gallery. She is currently finishing up her last semester at California State university Long Beach and is majoring in MFA. Ahrar has always been interested in art ever since she was a little girl and knew she wanted to pursue art for the rest of her life. About seven years ago, she moved down to the United States from Iran to have a better life. Her form of art work is nothing that I have ever seen before.
First off, her from of art work is graphic design. Graphic design the art or skill of combining text and pictures in advertisements, magazines, or book. When she was in high school in Iran, she graduated with her major in graphic design and continued it into college. When I walked into the gallery, I liked her work, but I did not know what it meant. After talking to her, she stated that each of her work were based off of 4 people who immigrated to America because of the wars that were going on in there hometown. Basically, her interviews are the different kind of experience each one of them had to go through. These people immigrated from Afghanistan, Iran, El Salvador, and Croatia. She described there experience through art by designing wall paper, posters, and kaleidoscopes. There journeys had both me and the other students in class surprised.
The Damask wallpaper describes Omar’s experience with his family who immigrated from Afghanistan to the United States. The different designs on the wall paper depicts his journey traveling and him coping with the American culture. When you go up to the wall paper, you can hear his journey through a recording she took of him during their interview. The first recording was designed with the Afghanistan code of arms and the bombing of the airplanes that he use to see. The second one was about the “escape”and the symbols that she chose were the Mosques on fire, and the rockets firing in Afghanistan. The third piece was about how Omar and his family settled in New York, and on the wallpaper she put the Statue of Liberty and other trade marks in New York. Lastly, the fourth piece was about how he was in America and how he entered the United States. Omar always had a dream of going to Disneyland and so he did, also her designs showed the traffic in American and his journey in becoming an Engineer. It was so cool how her whole wallpaper was based off of Omar’s journey to America. The 3D light box illustration describes Sara’s immigrating from El Salvador to America. She abstracted elements from the flags from both countries along with two poems in both English, and Spanish about her immigration. The kaleidoscopes describes the structures and chaos in Ali’s life who immigrated from Iran. In the kaleidoscope, it represents the struggles, and the different states he went to. Lastly, the poster demonstrated Hrvoje journey from Croatia. He moved to New York then went to Mississippi for school, but he did not like it and thats what the whole poster is about.
Ahrar inspiration was pretty interesting. She says her inspiration is knowing if immigrants had the same journey as she did when she immigrated to the states 7 years ago. She learned not everyone had the same journey as her. Everyone has there own journey in life and after doing this show, she learned to realize that everyone is different. She wanted to know if the culture was the main issue of why they immigrated, but the real reason was because of the wars going on in there country. It took Ahrar 3 years to finish this show and it is crazy how much work and detail was put into this. After she graduates, she wants to give her work to the people she interviewed and she just want to work on more things with graphic design. I really like how she used other peoples experience of how they came to the states and I wish her nothing but the best for the future. She unfortenaltely does not have a website because she is working on it.