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Crossroads - Azadeh Ghotbi


60 cm x 80 cm

Acrylic on canvas

My life has been greatly enriched from  living in five countries across three continents. I was born a Muslim yet my first encounter with religious education came when I fled the Islamic revolution in Iran and was put into a Catholic girl school in Paris. I married an atheist surrounded by my two best friends, my bridesmaids, one a Muslim the other a Jew.


I have suffered the direct consequences of religious obtuseness yet overall benefited immensely from being surrounded by open minded generous souls from diverse religious backgrounds. 


The work I’ve made for this traveling exhibit is about the beauty, intensity, and energy that comes from lives that are not linear but rather connecting, crossing, bridging, and impacting each other. Each colored line represents a person with a unique story, cultural background, belief system and sensibility. Their very interaction is what brings the work to life and enriches it.

Azadeh writes:

“I experienced revolution, loss, exile, and the idiosyncrasies of feeling proud of one’s heritage yet stateless early in life. I left Iran at an age when one is too young to make life-changing decisions yet old enough to suffer their consequences. I left behind everything I knew, cared for, and took for granted. The “present” and the beautiful prospect its future held were wiped forever at that very moment. 


Every day that goes by I’m fully aware that a diminishing proportion of my life has been spent in my country of birth yet on some intangible level the feeling of kinship to it remains strong. The passing of time has only made me further appreciate and cherish the importance of history, roots and cultural ties. Diaspora, statelessness, transience, lack of continuity are my “normal”.  However, I have found that such experience can bear unexpected gifts of strength, adaptability, empathy, and a heightened sense of observation. The cumulative effect of all this imparts and  reflects itself upon my work”.


Azadeh’s work has been exhibited in Basel, Frankfurt, Heidelberg, London, Los Angeles, Paris and Tehran.



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