Alumna, Hana Louise Shahnavaz, to exhibit at START Art Fair
Image: Detail taken from Lovers in the garden, 2017, courtesy of the artist.
Hana Louise Shahnavaz is a British-Iranian painter based in London. Having lived in Iran for six years studying Persian painting under the tutorage of master painter Safoura Asadian, she then continued her studies at the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts in London. Graduating with a distinction in Master of Traditional Arts (2017) she was awarded the Ciclitira Prize for her final degree show, presented by HRH Prince Charles. In addition to private collections worldwide, Hana's work has been acquired by the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia where it has become part of the museum's permanent collection.
Hana’s work is characterised by an abundance of exquisite detail, and a colourful palette of vibrant pigments handmade from semi-precious stones, plants and earth as well as 24ct gold and some exceptionally rare, natural materials foraged from around the world. This makes each painting unique as most of the rarer pigments will not appear again, as well as bringing an overall jewel like quality to the paintings. Some of these unique pigments in her recent work include an ancient, prehistoric, petrified tree and 100 year old sea-weathered charcoal. Many of her paintings contain a colourful range of earth that she has foraged from Iran, as well as Lapis Lazuli, cinnabar and malachite. Her work is a celebration of the natural world and, being inspired by Persian art and literature, opens portals into classical and folk traditions from Persia, which are imbued with poetry and esoteric teachings. The fantastical landscapes evoke a sense of wonder and magic whilst honouring all that is beautiful.
“I have learnt a lot by not being able to choose what pigment will appear on my palette. There is always an element of suspense and excitement about what will emerge. It takes away the opportunity to perfectly plan a painting, which results in more surprise and a wilder, more interesting and organic painting. Using natural materials that are found throughout the world, connects me to the Earth and reminds me I am part of the Whole whilst showing me how abundant and loving the natural world is. The beauty never seizes to amaze me and it feels like a blessing to be able to witness it and work with it. When I paint with these natural pigments I see stories, journeys and life in the paint - bringing with it a range of energies from all around the world, which in turn brings a sense of fun to the artwork. The stories of the earth feed into the painting and it all becomes one organic world dialogue. Painting for me is so much about the material as well as the artwork itself. Therefore as well as connecting me to Nature, these paints have also connected me more deeply to my paintings. My use of detail is a celebration of everything, no matter how ‘minor’ the thing; every leaf, bird, saddle, tree branch, flower petal, star, sky, clothing, musical instrument, fruit and so on. Now more than ever is the time to enjoy and revive the feeling of sacredness being present in everything; to become reconnected to the Source, and to see magic in the smallest of things.
Nothing is irrelevant. Everything has its purpose. Everything should be celebrated. I aim to create beautiful visual work that the viewer can not only take pleasure in, but also feel uplifted in heart and soul. Ultimately, it is Nature that inspires me; it is where the pulse and heartbeat of the Divine emanates in such a pure and potent form and it provides me with the most comfort and peace in this life. Hopefully my paintings can help facilitate a sense of re-connecting with Nature, and in turn our Selves. By reconnecting with Nature it ignites a sense of ‘togetherness’, something that is very relevant and indispensable in the world today. We are at a point in time where the call for ‘togetherness’ is louder than ever and needed more than ever.”
Tickets for the exhibition can be purchased via Ticketmaster.