Sara Shamsavari is a British-Iranian artist, photographer, singer-songwriter, and activist based in London. After surviving childhood cancer and a revolution (all before the age of two), Sara has become ‘one to watch’ in the art world. StyleAble caught up with Sara to talk about life as an artist.
“My whole family are creative as well as being critical thinkers so I think that plays a part in my passion for art. I did not feel particularly confident expressing myself verbally for many years, which meant I was motivated to excel creatively as it gave me a way of speaking without words. It was surviving war, cancer and running from country to country – all before the age of two – that made me more passionate and purposeful creatively.
That said, I feel my work is less about my past and more about the future. Artists have the opportunity to reflect on and challenge their environment and be leaders in social and spiritual progress. I’m inspired by the uncelebrated beauty that exists in everyday people and their journeys, by human strength and fragility. By the stories of my parents, the challenges and the success against all odds.
I’m inspired by the colours and textures I see walking through cities, I also love spaces, architecture by Gaudi or Zaha Hadid, the creations of designer Hussiein Chalayan or the incredible Nailah Lymus who I had the pleasure of working with. The photography of Jamel Shabazz, Hassan Hajjaj or Daniele Tamagni. I also love to be close to nature, Kew Gardens in London and Yves Saint Laurent’s Jardin du Majorelle in Marrakech are two favourites.”
“Most of my work explores identity and looks at current social and cultural concerns. Although each project is different, they all seek to encourage the ideals of non-judgement, equality, unity in diversity and collective responsibility. London Veil is no different. It both illustrates and is inspired by the influence of our perceived restrictions, limitations and challenges. Those forces encourage originality, adaptation and in turn transform cultural expression into objects of beauty. The project is neither as a critic nor an advocate of the hijab, but exists rather to recognise and celebrate its participants as strong, vital individuals who manage to shine, despite the struggles of youth, womanhood and prejudice they may receive as a result of the visibility of their faith.
The response to my exhibition London Veil was incredible, so much so that I expanded the series to create versions for Paris and NYC. London is exciting, diverse, imperfect and idiosyncratic, I don’t think there is anywhere else like it. I have had great experiences in other parts of the world too, the thing that impresses me the most about America though is the openness, generosity and willingness people have to support and elevate one another.
Life as an artist is a journey that involves constant growth, awareness, adaptation, self belief and consistency. I fund myself through artistic work and select commissions. I am passionate and excited about expanding to include other artistic mediums such as music, painting, writing and design. My aspiration is to push my creativity to its highest level.
All great art has a message and being an artist comes with responsibility. You need to see yourself as an entrepreneur but never compromise the integrity of your message. I think that All creativity comes from the same place, it’s just expressed in different ways and mediums.”
To find out more about Sara’s work go to: https://www.facebook.com/sarashamsavariart