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.