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Hasti Sardashti: Innovative Grace

A Dog's View on Money, Rats, Repression and Impractical Heroism © Hasti Sardashti

Powerful, innovative, grace and testimony are a few words that come to mind. When I think of this artist I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know. She has always been clear on her path and what she wanted out of life. She never let her personal circumstances or the worlds mishaps interrupt her goal. Of being a self-taught female Iranian artist. Meet Hasti Sardashti.

Do you focus on different themes regarding your art?

No I don’t actually. My focus has been always on ‘me’, and telling my personal story and experiences.

With the song of the wind in poplar tree, there is no childhood lost! © Hasti Sardashti

Any other passions other than art?

Being passionate about life and angry about all things unjust in it has been the two of my main driving forces. Recently it has always but more consciously since my later adult years. Being passionate about arts and nature is easy for me as it is imbedded in my soul but anything else has been always a struggle for me. However, I had to make choices in my life to survive or to reach some higher psychological and intellectual needs which were not directly related to arts but I tried my best to master them by approaching and doing them as the way I do an art work. Being passionate and not tolerate the injustice.

Affirmations or quotes that inspire you?

For me “The life is a river’ with a constant movement and lacking still stand.” I am “that river inside.” I like movement and change, I like facing the challenges caused by movement and change. I never thought I would experience this. These widespread women movements and the progress the women made in the last few years voicing their rights. I cannot wait to see the same level of achievements for Iranian women or for women in similar countries that promote lawful repression and repression of the women. The women movement in the last few years has been inspiring me most.

One Who Left and Survived © Hasti Sardashti

One thing people don’t know about your artwork?

That I have to do a lot of research myself to understand them!

What are your everyday supplies you use before you begin your art?

I can somehow not work with artificial light, and do most of my work during the day and with the daylight. Keeping on routines has been always a struggle for me, ideally I would get up and get straight to my art work in my pajamas or doing some research on my laptop but I am trying to be reasonable. So I have some morning routines these days to get up, doing some morning breathing and physical exercises and short movement with some random songs in radio, before taking a shower, having some fresh orange juice and coffee before starting the work. Pretty boring actually!

Ones Who Stayed, Fall in War and Are Forgotten © Hasti Sardashti

How has living in London affected your artwork?

Londonis an unusual European capital city, the first capital city I experienced in my life having over 10 million population that is not in a developing country. By the time I first got settled in London about 20 years ago I was already an Iranian migrant in Europe for 18 years but never lived anywhere I could call “home” after I left my country of origin (Iran). London was the first place I could call “home” then and still is despite all the drastic changes that in my opinion affected the spirit of the city since all the Brexit drama started in 2016. I believe the kind of artist I am I need the environment and culture of a big city like London to feel the inspiration, and drive for my art works. So, I would call myself still as a Londoner till I discover a new “home.”

Growing up Iranian is painting a common career? Is it acceptable?

No painting was not a common career in my time when I was at school but it was acceptable. I come from a middle-class family. My father was an educator and my mother was bitter about not being allowed to finish her schooling by her own father due to some cultural or religious beliefs. As most middle-class families in Iran my parents saw having a higher education and having a respectable job for their children as the key for them to be integrated and also to have a dignified life reflecting their beliefs and ideals. I was pretty good at school in most subjects with not doing much effort. We didn’t have arts as a subject in secondary school. Although becoming increasingly wild and rebellious during my secondary school years I guess deep down like any child growing up in a big family. I also wanted unconsciously to impress and please my parents in some positive ways.

We Live, We Die: Trust & Mortality © Hasti Sardashti

However, I happened to go through the Iranian revolution in 1978/79 while still in secondary school which I believe affected my life enormously. By the time I completed high school at age 18 (something some of my friends were not lucky enough to do it due to the political circumstances) the universities in Iran were shut down nationwide to go through so called Cultural Revolution to bring it in line with Islamic government. The Iran/Iraq war just began but it didn’t affect Tehran as much that time.

So, I had to see what I can do with my life. I started doing some jobs till I did a short training as a construction drawer and started working in a small architecture firm for few years. It was there when I decided to study architecture. Hence once the universities opened again a few years later I did the entrance exam for architecture. By the time I received a positive response to my application, I was already in West Germany on the wish of my parents to escape the circumstances in Iran. Finding myself in a country I spoke no words of their language, and being left on my own devices, my priorities that time seems to have changed from what I really wanted to do to versus what I believed I needed to do in order to survive, and also most importantly for me to secure my independence as an Iranian woman. So, it took me years to find my artist identity and myself again. So, in my case there has been no straightforward answer to your question.

Biggest compliment you’ve gotten on your work?

I am still in disbelief that people actually might like and connect to my work. So, any tiny genuine expressed interest in my work feels like the biggest compliment to me

Wounds On My Body © Hasti Sardashti

What does your art work represent? How do you want to be remembered?

I don’t know what my art work represents but I would like to be remembered as “Unconventional, uncompromising, stubborn, self-taught female Iranian artist”.

You can check out more of Hasti Sardasht work at Instagram (sardashat), Facebook (HdotSardashti) & her website


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