Jila Davoodi’s art is steeped in meaning.
Born in Isfahan in Iran, she grew up surrounded by architecture and art dating back to the 16th century. These influences – as well as her experiences living in a war-torn country – have influenced her work ever since.
“My subjects are women, children, society, nature and the environment. In my country, parents lost children, their homes and more. The woman has to handle everything and take care of the family,” said Davoodi. “The meaning and purpose of a piece becomes my inspiration and subject. All my paintings have a story to tell.”
Davoodi has worked as an artist and an art teacher in Iran and the United States, and says coming to the States 12 years ago opened up another world for her. She found the people kind and the freedom Americans experience interesting – another theme in her work.
Davoodi feels that every painting tells a story other than what is immediately visible, challenging the viewer to look deeper.
“Art – whether of a landscape or flowers or a portrait – there is a story behind it, not just beauty.”
She tells her stories in oil and acrylic, watercolor and pastel. Her painting “Grief and Compassion,” done in oil, palette knife and gold leaf, was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and the murder of George Floyd in May.
“When I saw on television what happened to George Floyd, I was very sad. What happened to this human being was unbelievable,” she says. “It hurt me.”
Davoodi’s painting depicts Jesus as a symbol of kindness, she says, reaching out to three Black men with aspirational messages in the background.
“No matter where someone comes from or the color of their skin,” she says, “Jesus told us we have to love one another. Human is human.”
The Gulfport Merchants Chamber Art Committee chose the piece as the poster art to commemorate the return of the First Friday Art Walk on October 2, with the overriding theme “Metamorphosis: Art for Hope and Healing.” The Brenda McMahon Gallery, where you can see “Grief and Compassion,” chose to sponsor Davoodi for the Art Walk.
“Jila’s work powerfully displays how an artist can distill the energy of the time into a moving expression that everyone can feel. It becomes a communication that reaches right into our collective hearts,” says McMahon. “That visceral response by Jila to the metamorphosis underway in our world is exactly what we believe art does in one’s life and in a culture. It is not superfluous. It is necessary.”
Davoodi, who now lives in Gulfport full time, has shown her work in Dubai, Kuwait, Azerbaijan, Iran, Ohio and Florida. She says she was thrilled by the response to her latest painting and its message.
“Each artist has a message. My message is to live together with kindness and harmony without oppression,” she says. “Love each other. Life is short.”
Visit jiladavoodiart.com for more.