When we observe the sparrows and pigeons that sit behind our windows, they look back at us with only one eye while the other eye looks elsewhere from the other side of their heads. But when it comes to us, they prefer to just use one eye to keep an eye on us. They’re frightened before we even do anything. Fear kicks in quicker in their lives. As if their motionless state is in fact a strategic advantage. They’re certain that we will be the instigators of mischief. They are ready to be frightened.
Most characters in Sara Ahmadi’s paintings use only that one eye to look at us. They were living their lives in peace until we showed up and they began their stillness and fear. They’re supposed to be there until we look at them, at which point contact is broken. Their connection is not with us, but with another in the painting. We’re just the unannounced guests.
The owl is connected to the deer above it. The gazelle is hanging out with a mesmerizing green plant. We’re bothering the two mice that were bothering each other, who now might have found a common enemy in us. The yellow creature that has something resembling a piece of wood in front of its face is definitely not interested in us. Two cats were minding their own business on the curve of a wall, but have now noticed us and turned around. The profile of that woman living a life made of paintbrushes and colors, looked entranced by her own beauty. The ostrich is probably living in freedom with its long neck in the horizon of captivity, until it notices us on the other side of the fence. It starts pondering the reason why we’ve imprisoned ourselves, as ostriches don’t do such things to others.
The worlds of Ahmadi’s paintings are extremely fragile and sensitive. It catches a brief moment and records it. Where the story is too long to be told in one act. The spectator of Ahmadi’s paintings is a curious pedestrian who jumps from one painting to another, inquires about the story and then moves on. Knowing another’s secrets is no longer worth keeping. One could look at a painting without much excavation and deconstruction. To be a curious viewer and practice restraint. We should believe that we can see the painting when there is a demand.
Thus, it’s better to quietly pass by each painting. We, the relentless intruders.
Text by Shabahang Tayyari