Biography

Shiva Ahmadi was born in Tehran, Iran in 1975 and currently lives and works in Detroit, Michigan. She received her BFA from Azad University, Tehran, in 1998; her MA and MFA in Drawing from Wayne State University in 2000 and 2003, respectively; and her MFA in Painting from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2005. Her paintings explore the powerful intersection of religion and politics, examining the corrupt and cancerous link between East and West. She creates fantastical realms, suggestive of her own experiences of the destruction and chaos wrought by war. Her faceless abstract figures inhabit war-ridden territory, and her watercolor paint bloodies the canvas. Ahmadi works across a variety of two-dimensional and three-dimensional media, including drums, paper and Aquaboard. Consistent throughout her pieces are ornate patterns, rendered in vibrant golds and reds and influenced by Persian, Indian and Turkish traditions. She both celebrates and commemorates the raw beauty and turmoil of these cultures’ histories. 

Ahmadi’s has consistently participated in significant exhibitions such as, Iran Inside Out at the Chelsea Art Museum in 2009; The Fertile Crescent: Gender, Art and Society in the Middle East Diaspora at Rutgers University in 2012; and the Venice Biennale Small Works Project, in collaboration with the Library Street Collective and Benetton in 2013. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; The Asia Society Museum, New York, NY; Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles, CA; the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI; the DePaul Art Museum, Chicago, IL; the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; the TDIC Corporate Collection, Abu Dhabi, UAE; and the Farjam Collection, Dubai, UAE.