Watch: Iranian American Artist Brings Painting to Life in Mesmerizing Animation

Iranian American artist Shiva Ahmadi was invited to participate in Asia Society Museum's ongoing In Focus exhibition series, which commissions new artworks that are often created in conversation with the Museum's collection of traditional art. Ahmadi's contribution to the series is an intricate animation entitled Lotus, based on her 2013 three-panel painting of the same title.

In the video above, Ahmadi explains how the work is partly inspired by two traditional Buddhas in the Asia Society Museum Collection, and describes the physical process of transforming a watercolor triptych into a single-channel animation.

She also discusses how public events — ranging from the 2009 Iranian uprisings to the Arab Spring — and recurring patterns with political leadership transitions in the Middle East influenced her project.

"I just wanted to open a dialogue with this animation," the artist tells Asia Society. "I wanted to raise questions in people’s minds. I wanted to see what each symbol says. . . . I'm sure everybody is going to find the answer for themselves."

Shiva Ahmadi: In Focus is on view at Asia Society Museum in New York City through August 3, 2014.

About the Author

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Asia Society contributor Cathy Zhao hails from Colby College. When she’s not creating new content for you to enjoy, you can find her exploring bookstore nooks, street art, and food. Lots of food.