Iranian artist Azadeh Amiri drew on personal experiences of life during wartime and oppression in Iran as inspiration for her exhibit Colorful Dark.
An "Art on the Move" exhibit beginning Monday will feature Amiri's paintings through Feb. 22. Her paintings are a perfect fit for the Student Health Center because they are bright and include interesting content, said Faye Kendall, communications assistant for the HUB-Robeson Galleries.
"They educate the viewer while at the same time adding an aesthetic or visual component to their day," Kendall said.
Amiri said she thinks deeply about women's lives and rights.
"My final goal as an artist is to help Iranian women to gain their rights and to represent their values," she said, adding much of her art has a feminine focus.
"The way society impacted women [in Iran] is unique," Kendall said. "It is different from what a typical Penn State student would experience."
Amiri was born in 1979, during a revolution in Iran, so her parents named her Azadeh, which means "who is free."
"I experienced the many hard days in war and its after effects," she said of Iran's eight-year war with Iraq. "Those days all Iranians were looking to the future eagerly. They were looking for freedom and justice in Iran."
After high school, Amiri began an agricultural engineering degree. Because of her passion for art, she applied and was accepted to Shahed Art University in Iran during her second year of college.
Amiri said she ultimately decided to pursue a dual degree to please her parents. She received bachelor degrees in agricultural engineering from Avad University and painting from Shahed Art University.
Amiri also referenced the importance of poetry and literature in Iranian culture. Much of her work is based on her background in Iranian literature.
"I am interested in these cultural influences and like to depict them in my art," she said. "The style depends on my mood."
What all of her work has in common is that it uses bright colors and tells a story about the world, she said.
"Because of the situation of Iranian women in my country, I wanted to show my audience that situation," she said. "As an Iranian woman, I have a lot of things to say."