Saba Farhoudnia
2020 AIM Emerging Artist Fellow 

Artist Statement

My work is about the human condition in today’s world, with a precarious present and insecure future. The relationship between individuals and the society has always occupied my mind. Therefore , I intend to open up the conversation on how such constructs as race, politics and migrations are mainsprings of this relationship. This idea derives from my own experience, of feeling alienated in my homeland, only to find myself homesick abroad. I explore the possibility of merging the languages of drawing and painting through employing brushstrokes, and gestural marks that at the same time suggest figuration and fragment into abstract spaces.



Saba Farhoudnia was born in Tehran in 1987. She has an MA from The University of Science and Culture in Tehran, Iran. She received her second MFA in Painting from the LeRoy E.Hoffberger School of Painting at MICA in Baltimore. Farhoudnia has been exhibiting her paintings across the Globe. Her work has been published in magazines such as Art Scope Magazine, Thalia Magazine, Studio Visit Magazine. She works and lives in New York City. 






Images courtesy the artist.

Interview questions developed by 2020 AIM Curatorial Intern Victoria Sperotto.

The science of implosion
Ink on paper
12 x 8 in.

La La Land
Acrylic on Canvas
55 x 75 in.



In the Penal Colony
Acrylic on Yupo

8 x 12 in.

Q&A with Saba Farhoudnia

What role does art play in 2020 amidst the events of the past year?

In my opinion, more than ever, art has become a vital part of human life. I feel like art helps people and artists ourselves to sort out and contemplate different emotions during this pandemic. I think in some cases, art has widely become a healing vehicle to many. Either through a long time, we spend at home or in the studio with art, through social media or other online platforms. We can set our own time to virtually travel to other countries to meet other cultures, to see gallery or museum shows. Seeing shows, conferences, and plays on these platforms not only anytime we like but also often free of charge, changing the stimulus for all institutions. The relationship between the minds and movies, music, visual art went toward a new direction. I think art is appreciated more and represents its power shamelessly to us and now like never before it can represent itself as a necessary tool to construct a better future.  

When representing personal experiences of alienation and your multicultural background through your art, are you concerned that your audiences may not register or connect with that emotion/experience?
Well, no. I am not concerned about it since I am offering images to the viewer that they can relate to the work. Being born in the Middle East and surrounded by middle eastern arts is not a choice, it is an atmosphere that influences your mindset, eyes, and thoughts. The artwork is very often created, viewed, and criticized according to the society where one belongs. I am looking for a viewership that can discover different layers of my work. That they peel it the same as onion. This is the path that I would like to carve during my artistic practice.I can create countless images from my mind. I have learned how to use symbols and visual aesthetics that portray a straight direction for the viewer but I like to represent the shadow and let the viewer’s own perception thrive. Like my paintings to convey mysterious places at first sight and my cultural background, my messages are like the cherry on the cake. 


You have stated that your “work is about the human condition in today’s world, with a precarious present and insecure future”. As we find ourselves in a time where both those things are heightened, how has it influenced your art?

Before this time, I used to spend countless hours thinking about human condition, fragility, insecurity, desires, etc.  It became as if it was real in my head. It is fascinating to me that my vision of the world is now the reality of most individuals. This influenced my art by zooming in and working about the issues and acting more specific. 



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