art & artists, artists & art

“There is this amazing space before thoughts and feelings turn into words, that, inevitably, limit them.

It’s a magical space from which arise pure thought and emotion through which we grasp things before we rationalize them.

That is how sensation can be metabolized without putting a verbal tag on it.  One needs courage to look at things as a witness rather than an immediate manipulator, to hold that space between the birth of a sensation and its interpretation.

That space of seeing before naming is magical; it is liberating, pure and honest. It is magnificent because it is individual, very-very individual. No one can take it away from you or describe it for you. It doesn’t belong to anyone or anyplace or any rules or any books until we reduce it to a verbal form.


That space is the space of freedom, before we name it, thus it giving it a new meaning that “will make sense”.


I paint that space...

It is the freedom I owe myself. “


Roshanak Khalilian studied for her BA in Art & Literature, followed by art history studies at the Open University of UK. She continues learning history and history of art with the University of Oxford.

Her works evoke contrasting and even conflicting feelings and experiences: hope and death, wealth and poverty, joy and sadness, the light and the dark aspects of hope in life. They reflect the ambiguity and fullness of human nature and the power of hope.

She describes her work as capturing the unsaid, the ineffable, the unspoken.

- Olga Alfonsova-

Roshanak Khalilian

February 2019, California


Identity.  Who am I?

Am I living the legacy of my given identity? Or am I living the fiction of it? Or both?

These are the questions which kept bouncing into my head since long ago. And as some answers came, so did more questions. 

I thus began to question the identity of the words we use to describe the limits of our identity.

When and by whom are first told something is accepted or not accepted? I like to take the chance and ask But Why? But How?

When are we told that something is correct or incorrect?  I like to take the chance and ask But Why? But How?
When we are told this is reasonable and that is unreasonable! I like to ask But Why? But How?

Words make the worlds we live in, in accordance with certain beliefs and traditions. I would like to take the chance and experience the world before the words and traditions describe it. 

I don't want to believe the words without knowing first-hand that they are true.

I would like to speak with the like-minded seekers, those who are looking for their true self that may be different from what they were taught to believe about themselves.


BeiBei Song,

Chief Creative Officer, Essinova Executive Educator and Coach, Stanford Business School.

A prominent name at worldwide solo and group exhibitions, Roshi Khalilian is a master of capturing emotions with abstract textures and vibrant colors. Embedded in them are cultural heritage from her native Iran, as well as a variety of lifestyles, languages, values and traditions of the many Middle-Eastern and European countries the artist has lived in or visited. What’s the most remarkable about her paintings, however, is her ability to not only understand and reflect the differences of these regions, but also to capture and convey common human traits and behaviors present across them.



This is precisely what Roshi brings to her new audience in Silicon Valley-exotic colors rarely seen in California, yet energy, intensity and passion that resonate. On display is the artist's latest body of work, created during her residency at Art Ventures exploring the subject of Identity. Although her very first visit to the area, the residency proved that she can be right at home here, with her feisty spirit and critical inquiries: “But Why? But How?...”

In a region of immigrants who carry diverse cultural identities from around the world but are drawn here by the opportunity to remake themselves for their own dreams and ideals, her exploration raises questions many can relate to. As an artist, wife and mother Roshi found particular resonance among the Valley’s professional women, seeking to discover more of the authentic selves beneath their complex and multi-layered identities at work and in life.

This is evidenced in the pieces made by a group of business leaders, in a self-identity workshop she co-led with me, inspired by the residency project.


In her Identity series Roshi once again skillfully portrays the duality of human experience – fear and courage, the light and the dark, unique personalities and universal emotions, our individuality and common connections – with bold colors and visual poetry.