“It’s a daily practice of figuring out how to embrace the pieces we’ve been presented in life. This painting sat for some time with the colored strokes against a white background. The starkness made me uneasy. It felt like the colors were fighting the blank page & each other. Oh, how painting continues to reflect the realities of life. I have learned that the different facets of our identities are for us to cultivate, not for society or for others to define. If something you are doing or believing feels uneasy, ask yourself why? Is it because you’re experiencing change & it’s uncomfortable? Are you committed to something that doesn’t serve you? does your environment encourage your growth? Do YOU need to change an outdated narrative? I was ready to toss this painting. I was ready to walk away. When in reality, I changed the narrative that I have to use this color or that; that this shape is me or not me. All it took was a new background (i.e. environment) and the new colors and shapes were able to thrive.” – Sheyda Mehrara

Details: Gouache, Acrylic, Charcoal, Pastel on Canvas Paper, Signature on Bottom Right

Dimensions: 16 x 20 inches

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About this Artist

Born and raised in The South by two Persian parents, Sheyda Mehrara has always felt a little bit of an outsider. She just didn’t recognize and leverage it as a superpower until recently. Taking ownership and learning to fall in love with the very parts that she once felt shame around have led her to pick up a paintbrush.

Sheyda is now a mixed media painter living in Atlanta, GA. Largely self-taught, as an art career was not supported as a first generation immigrant child, she has utilized her travels, her cinephilia, her heritage and more to inform her work.

"'What are these emotions & why do I feel it so intensely?' I find myself asking all too often. Before the emotions would bubble up, suffocate me, bind me, cast a spell for a few days. What I didn’t realize is that each was a mirror in gaining a better understanding of my deepest desires &, equally important but not mutually exclusive, my latent triggers.

For so long, I didn't know what to do with the rush...to the flood of emotions I felt so often. I marked it as a curse because the burden felt so strong. These paintings allow me to face those feelings & confront them. Instead of punishing myself for those sentiments, the brushstrokes allow me to turn it into a positive self-dialogue. It's all in effort to learn who I am and what I stand for & in turn help others navigate the process of healing."