In her small art studio inside her Plano home, Mahsa Moein is free to be herself.
"Painting is my everything," Moein said. "I like to be honest. I would love to be brave when I'm painting."
Moein and her family moved to North Texas 8 years ago from her native Iran.
"We left everything behind, and it was so difficult to start over," Moein said. "I choose to live here because of freedom."
Moein's paintings are in bright, bold colors. She said it reminds her of the Iran that was, not the Iran that is now.
"The people doesn't have a right. If they do protests, they're killing them. They harass them," she said through tears. "As an artist, I lose my power when they censor ... the way I'm painting ... this is my protest."
On Thursday night, Kettle Art in Deep Ellum will host the opening of "Mahsa Moein — Life Goes On," gallery's first solo art show since the pandemic started.
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And though Moein had previously taken part in a group show at Kettle Art, this exhibit will also be her first solo show ever.
"My painting comes from what I see, what I'm feeling, what I'm doing," Moein said. "I start with reality and then let my imagination take over."
Moein said she paints every day.
"I love it. I love it," she said.
She hopes those who see her work see one thing: "Beauty ... beauty of freedom."
The opening for "Mahsa Moein — Life Goes On" will be from 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday at Kettle Art, 2650 Main St., Dallas. The exhibit runs through Aug. 22.