Saba Farhoudnia’s painting, “Chasing Dreams,” is the cover art for the November 2017 issue of Words without Borders: Within (and Without) These Borders: Writing from the US.
“. . . All immigrants are artists because they create a life, a future, from nothing but a dream. The immigrant’s life is art in its purest form.”
—Patricia Engel, It’s Not Love, It’s Just Paris
We tell stories all the time in order to feel better about the emotions that we experience. The more that we process those emotions—in speaking, writing, painting—the better we are able to digest and understand them. I started painting at a very young age, and I never thought there would come a day when I would be living in a land as an immigrant. After arriving in the United States from Iran, I got to a point where even painting was a stranger to me.
I created this painting, “Chasing Dreams,” during the first months of my arrival. I was very confused and shocked to be in New York City, where I felt like I was in a gigantic piece of machinery without a manual. It is the first painting I did in this land. It is small in size compared to the canvases I used to paint on, and it was done with a more limited palette. The many white paper boats are my dreams. They are the purest and safest symbol for me of embarking on a new adventure with my wishes and desires. They represent the vessel that carried my dreams from childhood into adulthood. This painting was the first brick in my construction of my own place, and now I feel I am with in one of those boats in my studio, living every day in my own land: “PAINTING.”