Raised in New Zealand and of Iranian and Filipino descent, Shahriar Asdollah-Zadeh completed his Post Graduate Diploma (Distinction) at Elam School of Fine Arts in 2010, and has developed a multidisciplinary practice spanning painting, photography, video, installation, performance and sculpture. He is driven by the belief that artists are storytellers, disruptors and creators who shape our culture and enrich our society, and that through art, we gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us. His work addresses concepts of the human condition and interrogates hybrid and diasporic identities and humanity’s migrations. His current research is focused on dichotomies of place/displacement, diaspora/migration, borders/liminality, experience/memory and the intersections between our collective environments and the transmission of knowledge.
Asdollah-Zadeh’s work has been included in The Shouting Valley (2020 and 2019) at The Physics Room, Christchurch and Gus Fisher Gallery, Auckland respectively; The Hive Hums With Many Minds (2016) at Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, Auckland; The Screen (2014) at Enjoy Contemporary Art Space, Wellington; Globalising Wall (2012) at Māngere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu o Uenuku, Auckland; Credo and Quest (2010) at Whangarei Art Museum, Whangarei; Ey! Iran (2009) at Whangarei Art Museum, Whangarei and Stand up (2009) at the University of Fine Arts, Poland. Solo exhibitions include Rainbow Machine (2021) at The Wallace Arts Centre Pah Homestead, Auckland; Spectrums and Rainbow Machine (2020) at Māngere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu o Uenuku, Auckland; The revolution continued: the metamorphosis of memory (2014) at The Film Archive, Auckland; Fear Faith and Persian Pop (2013) at Papakura Art Gallery, Auckland and Persepolis (2012) at Snake Pit, Auckland.
His large scale sculpture, Rainbow Machine, 2019, continues to be exhibited across Auckland locations and has been recognised with multiple national awards, culminating in the Supreme Purple Pin award for ‘Exhibition and Temporary Structure’ from the Designers Institute of New Zealand’s Best Awards, 2019 and the prestigious Gold Tick award for ‘Architecture and Urban Design’ at the Good Design awards in Australia, 2020. Funded by Auckland Council’s Public Art programme and conceived in collaboration with Patrick Loo and Sarosh Mulla, this interactive public work shifts with every engagement to reflect phenomenological perspectives, while its bold form and colour invite us in to playfully perceive and capture the essence of light and its colour spectrum through our physical activation.
Asdollah-Zadeh also produces multifaceted and intricate bodies of work: Spectrums is a study of colour as a fundamental facet of the human condition: deep, saturated colour can evoke memories and emotions. How we have remembered colour throughout our lives will influence how we perceive colour today and in this way, we all see colour a little differently. His ongoing painting series Pale Blue Dot, begun in 2016, references the rich history of geometry, ornamental and architectural design from the Middle East, including the polygonal patterns reminiscent of the 11th to 16th century patterns found in the Topkapi Scroll. The paintings are also an exploration of “…the fragility of nations, borders, global migration, the transmission of knowledge and the environment seen from afar…[they] relate to the overview effect, a cognitive shift in awareness that has been reported by astronauts during spaceflight while viewing Earth from outer space. Seeing the Earth as a pale blue dot hanging in a void, prompts people to think of it as something that needs protecting”.
Shahriar Asdollah-Zadeh lives and works in Auckland, New Zealand.