The work in Dreaming represents a thrilling new chapter in Schahbaz’s oeuvre, her first exhibition as she transitions from water-based works on paper to large-scale figurative oil painting. In this fresh body of work, she carries the viewer on a reflective and expansive inner journey that traverses the “connective space” between a selection of her works on paper and her newly created work on canvas. Dreaming explores themes of self-healing, emotional journey, spirituality, and the desire to create safe and nurturing spaces for women to feel seen and represented.
Schahbaz’s lyrical depictions of women are interwoven with references to intimate self-portraiture and iconography drawn from her own personal mythology. Surrounded by nature, female figures recline in art historical references, reimagined and reclaimed through a lens of both loving gentleness and feminine power. A lush rose-colored palette dominates the exhibition, which also mirrors Schahbaz’s inner world as she moved from the vibrancy of red into the softer palette of pink that she imagined as a space of self-healing. The work is figurative, but beyond each individual narrative, the canvases themselves serve almost as emotional votives- through the pieces themselves Schahbaz creates healing objects that reflect a collective consciousness of women. “Painting has become a sanctuary,” says Schahbaz of her new work, “like a garden I’m growing in the studio. There’s so much suffering right now and to create a healing counterpoint to that- a healing space for that, has been part of my conscience during this time.”