Sahar Khalkhalian is an Iranian-born artist currently residing in Canada whose work explores powerful and traumatic themes including separation, isolation, as well as loss of humanity and identity. As a child, Khalkhalian experienced the 8 year Iran-Iraq War where she saw firsthand just how easily an individual’s humanity and identity could be shattered or ripped away to become only a fleeting memory for those who manage to survive. Following this, she and her sister emigrated to Germany at the age of 13, where she again had to experience the loss of identity and feelings of isolation that are common to immigrants in an alien culture. As a result Khalkhalian’s paintings center directly on expressing these feelings to the viewer which are so hard to express with words alone.

Khalkhalian does not treat her work as a job. Rather, she endeavors to work only when she feels truly inspired; be it jubilantly happy or utterly devastated. By only working at these times, she is able to keep her work raw and genuine, capturing the emotions she is trying to convey as she is feeling them instead of searching for them when she wants them.

Sahar Khalkhalian

The Dance of Life

Agora Gallery

November 2 – November 23, 2021

See Iran Coming Out of the Shadows

Photographer Newsha Tavakolian — Magnum for TIME

Sahar Khalkhalian, a painter, finishes her artwork days before her solo exhibition.


“As artists, we must take responsibility. We cannot ignore the human tragedies experienced in many parts of the world, especially in the African continent, on international platforms. I would be very honored if my painting exhibition, on which I have been working intensively, contributes even a little to the elimination of the negative conditions in the world.”

Body Rifle Death Blood Insanity Heat

We are familiar with these words since the beginning of the history.
War and border.
Lines are on paper maps but people really die on earth.
This time, borders were doors that we closed on ourselves, while death was still dancing.

Alone, isolated, secluded in fences. Scared of everything; afraid of another body that would carry our death.
I was sitting behind these doors, daydreaming, and my dreams changing into colors and colors and lines turning into people, happily Clung together, shoulder to shoulder, hand-in-hand, as if they are all one.
The glasses rise, the music begins and this is the dance of life.

The Gamble of Destiny