July 2, 2021: Sona Sahakian Artist Interview
Sona Sahakian is a visual artist based in the Hague, the Netherlands. She graduated from the department Fine Arts at the Royal Academy of the Arts , The Hague. Her works consist of paintings, drawings, collages, photographs , installations and films (video art). In recent years she has participated in various group exhibitions and projects.
Tell us a bit about yourself (Where are you from? Where do you live? How did you become an artist? Did you always want to be one? Your earliest memory of creating art?)
My name is Sona Sahakian (1996), a visual artist based in the Hague, the Netherlands. I graduated from the department Fine Arts at the Royal Academy of the Arts , The Hague. My works consist of paintings, drawings, collages, photographs , installations and films (video art). In recent years I have participated in various group exhibitions and projects.
I grew up in a creative environment; my whole family expresses itself creatively. My parents are visual artists and film makers. As a result, I have been surrounded by art from an early age. I started drawing and painting as a child and have not stopped since. My first memory is that I was drawing characters from fairy tales. My parents were impressed by the resemblance of my drawings to the characters. After I went to the Duinrell amusement park with my father, I made a drawing from my imagination for the first time. I was impressed by the events of that day and immediately put my feelings and images on paper. When I showed my drawing to my parents, they said it was beautiful. This gave me a happy and special feeling.
What themes or ideas do you pursue in your work?
My works are about the search for an inner experience of time, where memories are made
experienceable in the shape of fixation and transformation. The transience, the cycle of human existence - life, death and rebirth - plays an important role in this; this transforms our reality and strengthens our human consciousness. In my art I want to stimulate people's imagination and sensory experiences in which the traces of the past are revived in the present, which remains anchored in my memory and thus enriches her personal history. In this way I want to inspire people to make an inner journey by really feeling and discovering for themselves what the treasury of their existence is.
[Sona Sahakian - The Energy Source, 2020, mixed media]
Are your works purely visual or do they also have a symbolic meaning?
My works contain symbolic meanings and metaphors. They enable viewers to think about images and ideas in different ways and to interpret them in multiple ways. This brings more depth and layering into my art, through the many possible meanings and stories.
[Sona Sahakian - Everything Comes and Goes, 2020, mixed media]
Can you tell us about your process and materials? What part of your process do you enjoy the most?
The transience of materials and the alchemical process of fusion plays an important role in my work. I see candle wax as a medium with which I can paint and create forms, structures, textures and dimensions. The material is a metaphor for inner silence and a “melted” past that radiates life force, energy and a moment of stillness, and at the same time refers to the invisible and the intangible.
I like to bring different disciplines and techniques together in one image. I see this as an endless process in which different images in a different form and context constantly transform or take on and reappear in other forms. For example, a photo can become part of a film that fits in with the whole and is placed in a different context. Or a movie screenshot can become part of a collage that evokes a different feeling and atmosphere. I see my works as a re-used cycle of becoming and perishing, which continues and expands, where every detail and shape plays its own role. They are harmoniously linked in an image where intangible time, memory and transience are united.
You also write poetry. Can you tell us a bit about creating art pieces and writing poetry? Is there a separation between the two or do they go hand in hand?
Sometimes the images and poems arise intuitively, but they are based on events, feelings and emotions, in which silence, presence and transience play an important role. I strive for my works to have a calming and meditative energy; they are static, but at the same time have inner dynamism. To me poems are like floating musical notes that come together with images, harmonize and form a unity.
Do you actively search for inspiration or wait for inspiration to find you?
I always find inspiration by looking, observing and thinking. Life is movement! Here lies the gate of being, the energy source that is the life force of our existence. Sometimes coincidence is also a
source of inspiration. You can get inspiration from every circumstance that takes you further in life.
In this way, your creative process unfolds in a way that you never imagined before.
What's the most peculiar thing/situation that sparked your inspiration?
The journey I made in Armenia is an important source of inspiration; the traces of the past transport me to a timeless dimension. This is how I came into contact with the spiritual world, meditation and yoga, which have made me stronger and more powerful and given me guidance in my life. The atmosphere, the mountains and the energetic aura gave me a magical and nostalgic feeling, which has enriched my view of the world and strengthened my awareness of my existence. What also fascinated me are the villages in the high mountains, which have a special, extraordinary power and depth, through which experience an inner connection with my cultural and genetic background.
[Sona Sahakian - A New Existence, 2020, mixed media]
What artist(s) do you admire?
I admire various artists, filmmakers and photographers, for example Bill Viola, Herman de Vries, John Daido Loori and Anselm Kiefer. These artists work from their personal experiences and inner feelings. They all manages to convey the miraculous powers of nature and the evolution of the soul in a monumental way. The purity that their works radiate gives a meditative and soothing feeling, where the beauty of nature is experienced and felt. This indicates a moment of stillness and reflection. Their works are inspired by the spiritual world and inner life of human existence.
How do you relax and recharge?
When I'm creating, that's when I relax. Every time my work turns out different and that makes it so special for me! I also relax by meditating, yoga and nature walks. In nature one finds quiet beauty and reflection that bring harmony and balance, and in which the mind relaxes and can find peace.
Tell us about the future: plans, dreams, anything you’d like to share with the world.
I am currently making new works about the war in Armenia. As you may know, there is a lot going on in the country right now. With my works I want to show the emotional world of the population, and I want to give them strength, encouragement and positive energy to overcome these difficult times and survive, through mixed media. Themes such as struggle, hope, courage, loss and power
are central to my works.
I am also working on a project about light and shadow, which I want to expand further. For me, light is the most important positive force and the source of life. We have to find a balance between black and white, light and dark. One cannot exist without the other. We must fight against dark moments in life to be victorious.
In the future I would like to create more mixed media works in combination with 2d , photography and film. By bringing different media together, I want to visualize solidarity.
I also hope that I will have more opportunities to hold exhibitions and participate in projects in which different artists share their experiences.
[Sona Sahakian - Liberation, 2019, mixed media]