meet an artist mondayPainter and mixed media artist Delbar Shahbaz embraces vibrant colors in symphonic palettes as an emblem of freedom and a gesture of courage—like nature emerging from a winter of revolution into a spring of power and liberty. Her lively visual language of abstraction, nature, and the figure grows from a holistic vision of connection, motion, and the world’s constant cyclical process of change. Rivers run, dancers spin, birds fly, light sparkles, fades, and returns; creatures part human and part animal explore the boundaries of our real and poetic dream worlds as symbols and carriers of the spirit; suffering gives way to restoration and power. Much of Shahbaz’s work exists in a place of global feminism, overlapping with her experiences first in Iran and later as an immigrant to America, and focuses on resisting the erosion of women’s rights at home and around the world. At the same time, her symbolism advancing a deeper sense of peace and liberty, often involving literally laying in a ground of painted darkness before emblazoning and obscuring it with thick painterly flourishes of heroic color, can be a beacon to us all.

meet artist delbar shahbaz

Delbar Shahbaz, Nature is a goddess #3, 2022, Mixed media on paper, 17 x 14 in (Courtesy of Advocartsy)

L.A. WEEKLY: What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about?

DELBAR SHAHBAZ: The central concern in my practice is the negotiation of gender identity, transformation, and emancipation, as well as human connection to the natural realm. I engage with self-identity as fluid, socially constructed, and multifaceted. I respond to my personal experiences as a female migrant, yet connect my experience to a universal concept.

My current show at ADVOCARTSY is ultimately about light and movement. By making use of light and movement and by painting and attending to the play of light on land and water, I am honoring and moving through its opposite: shadow and pain. The female figures in this series are literal symbols of heroism. The show is called Land is Feeling, Color is Remedy. The dark layers come first in my process; I make the light out of and on top of the darkness to speak toward a brighter horizon in the future. Here I’m casting light to my people; the light of hope, happiness, and a bright future for the land, a land that has been pilfered by dictators. The light is a premonition: Before something happens, you feel its emergence.

Delbar Shahbaz, Seeking the light, 2022, Acrylic and oil painting on canvas, 72 x 36 in (Courtesy of Advocartsy)

What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?

I would be a psychologist.

Did you go to art school? Why/Why not?

I got my first Master’s degree in Illustration from Art University in Tehran, Iran in 2008, and my second Master’s degree in Fine Art from ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena in 2017. Since 2016 I have been a part-time faculty at ArtCenter. I am also part-time faculty at the College of the Canyons. I love being in academia and teaching art to other people.

Why do you live and work in L.A. and not elsewhere?

I moved from Iran to the United States in 2013. I was working as an artist and art educator in Iran and wanted to pursue the same goals. I chose L.A. because I love nature, and I love meeting interesting people who are pursuing their dreams. L.A. feels like the right place to be.

Delbar Shahbaz, Nurturing the land, 2020, Collage, handprint, acrylic painting, 18 x 15 in (Courtesy of Advocartsy)

When was your first show?

My first show was in 2008 when I was living in Iran. It was a sculpture show, and it was at Golestan Gallery in Tehran. My first solo exhibition since my migration to the U.S. in 2013, is my current show at ADVOCARTSY gallery in West Hollywood, entitled Land Is Feeling, Color is Remedy, which will be up thru this Saturday, March 18. It has been exciting to share my art with the Los Angeles community.

What artist, living or dead, would you like to show or work with?

I like Nathalie Djurberg’s artworks. She is a Swedish artist living and working in Berlin. She powerfully creates narratives on psychological aspects of the human body and mind in her animations and stop-motions. She uses hidden symbology in choosing her characters.

Web and socials:

IG: @delbarshahbaz

Delbar Shahbaz, Unity, 2022, Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 15 in (Courtesy of Advocartsy)

Delbar Shahbaz, The Land is Feeling, 2023, Acrylic and oil painting on canvas, 72 x 36 in (Courtesy of Advocartsy)


































































































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