Saya Behnam

Saya Behnam
Capturing the Vibrant, Transient and Eternal NOW
September 14th through November 4th, 2018
Exhibition Reception: Saturday September 22nd, 2018 2-4PM

Saya BenhamI paint entirely with colors extracted from plants, flowers, spices, as well as stones and minerals found in nature.

Like any other living thing, flowers produce different colors in different weather, soil and location. Since they are specific to the moment, time and location they were created, each can never be replicated.

Flowers & spices create varying shades of color, often entirely out of my artistic control, based on how they absorb water and interact with the texture of the medium. There is no certainty in the shade or hue I get.

I believe humankind has always sought some form of permanence, while at the same time being keenly aware that all of life is impermanent and nothing is fixed.  Ever changing, ever evolving into new forms, all of nature flows through its rhythms of change.  Yet I revere that eternal moment of NOW, where we have the opportunity to grasp life’s fullness and potential for beauty.

Perfume of ColorFor several years now, the materials I use to paint are extracted colors from dried or fresh flowers and plants, spices, as well as natural minerals and stones.  These materials are not local in origin, but rather come from various parts of the earth, and thus symbolically represent our global humanity.  In some of my new work, in additional to the extracts previously mentioned, I’ve begun to use the actual dried or fresh petals and fragments of flowers.  It was in the process of adhering these fresh elements that the fossil concept came to mind.

I love the idea that fossils are once living organisms that have been captured in time, and from our present perspective, permanently so.  Here the shape of life, including its essences, feels indestructible.  They are past NOWs frozen in time.  From a philosophical perspective then, my work takes on the characteristics of future fossils that I have created to capture the vibrant, transient NOW.

Hibiscus flower tea, with ink on paper created a beatuiful variation of purple to blue and red colors, with writing in Farsi says: “I am”, “ I am alive”, “ I live”, and using gold leaves

Through the creative process my materials become co-creators of captured moments of my life that will endure beyond that moment.  The fragility of my materials, such as flower petals, are just as fragile as my breath that sends my materials across the canvas, yet they gain strength and permanence as co-creators of the finished work of art.  We become fossilized!


Sayeh “Saya” Behnam was born in Tehran-Iran and moved to the USA, fleeing from war and revolution. Living on three continents helped her to view life from different perspective. Coming from the Middle East, an area with so much turmoil, had a deep impact in her view in life.

Her art is not political, but she deals with the core concept of human being and nature. She is very active in the social and humanitarian art space, working with NGO’s in the Middle East and the USA, especially with street children. She currently lives in Northern Virginia, part of the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.

To learn more about Saya visit her website at and follow her on Instagram at @sayabehnam