Art, anxiety, and healing: Maryam Keyhani’s artful balance between fantasy and reality
The Persian Berlin-based milliner and artist Maryam Keyhani is the maker of whimsical worlds. Perusing her Instagram feed feels like a foray into a definitively more fun and fanciful reality full of sumptuous Alice in Wonderland-like hats and colorful paintings of abstract creatures dressed in confectionary gowns.
With her work featured everywhere from the Art Gallery of Ontario to Vogue, the artist has made a name for herself through her fantastical hat creations that are more akin to sculptures than headpieces. Yet, while people may come for her creations, they stick around for her special brand of joie de vivre. With an intentionally playful approach to life, she invites her viewers and followers to connect with their inner children and remember that — to quote one of her posts — “life is a banquet.”
Moving to Canada from Tehran when she was just 13, one can easily trace Keyhani’s appetite for escapism to a childhood shaped by hardship. But that wouldn’t be telling the whole story, because it wasn’t until the artist began to face her struggles head-on that her most precious world — her real life — truly began to blossom. In our conversation in Keyhani’s extraordinary Berlin apartment and studio, she opened up about her experience as an immigrant in Canada, her journey to dealing with crippling anxiety, and how for her, the everyday joys of art are what make it so healing.
Read the interview in issue 05, now available in our app!