“I would feel very successful if I did not have to work outside jobs
and solely be able to survive off of my sales from my art work."
The Brooklyn based artist Kymia Nawabi is a first generation American with Iranian parents whose work depicts a dark mythical world she has created for herself which she describes as “an allegory of human behavior.”
As she told the Blue Canvas Magazine “"My darkness is an inherent part of me from ever since I was very young. I do not mention this part of myself expecting any pity or discomfort from anyone, but hopefully empathy… My gloom is like a life-long scar that will probably always be a part of my work."
Although four years ago the sun did shine through the clouds, if briefly, when Nawabi won the second and final series of Bravo’s reality TV show Work of Art: The Next Great Artist.
But, as she told Hyperallergic’s “Out of the whole reality TV show experience, my exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum has been the most powerful and helpful part for my career. I now have a solo show at a major museum on my CV… The whole experiment of participating in Work of Art is another art adventure to add to my personal history of being a fine artist, which I have no regrets about. I learned so much about myself and my work, that these are the ways the show has impacted my career. It is all very personal and within the confines of my studio and mind.”
An impact Nawabi has expanded about stating "The most crucial thing I learned throughout the competition was that I am capable of a lot more than I am even aware of. It is as though I need to be scared stupid to get to these enlightened and transcendental states within making the work. I never knew I could create such a beautiful show and I say that with confidence not cockiness. My work has been so quirky the past few years, I am so happy to have arrived at this new place within my work where there is an elegance and whole new kind of poetry."
Although it is a poetry that remains intensely personal as the Charlotte Observer’s art critic Barbara Schreiber noted when she wrote about Nawabi’s exhibition at Davidson College Galleries earlier this year “Nawabi’s work is not easy to decipher without some guidance, but it is touching, dramatic and cathartic in its mixture of melancholy and hope.”
Nawabi’s current exhibition Soothsayer is on show at Seattle’s Abmeyer + Wood gallery until the 26th of September.