Shideh Tami was born in Tehran in 1962. From the early ages, she was keen on literature and wrote poems. She studied science in high school but gradually became interested in art. In 1983, by the recommendation of her close friend Shahrokh Ghiasi, she took part in Aydin Aghdashloo’s classes for a short time. Even though she never completed the course, she got to know some artists of her generation such as Shohreh Mehran, Mohammad Hamzeh, Houman Mortazavi, Fardi Jahangir and Mostafa Dashti. In an essence, the atmosphere and the setting of this short-term class had a major impact on her mindset concerning art. In 1987, with the help and persuasion of Aydin Aghdashloo, Shideh published her first poetry book, “The Dark Curtain of the Night”. Three years later she published three children’s books: “Everyone Has a Shadow”, “Said Very Seriously” and “A Rain Child Who Smelled Like the Stars”. Houman Mortazavi did the illustrations of the books. Over the following years, figurative painting became one of Shideh’s main interests aside from poetry and eventually in 1992, with the encouragement of Parvaneh Etemadi, she held her first solo exhibition of self-portraits in Mansoureh Hosseini’s gallery. Ever since, the human figure and portrait has been the main and reappearing subjects in her work. It was only in the mid 90’s, after the passing of her friend, Shahrokh Ghiasi, that she completely eliminated the human figure from her work and instead painted empty chairs for about two years.
Shideh Tami is a self-taught artist who during her artistic career has attempted to avoid all academic limitations in order to portray the complicity of the human psyche in the most direct and simple manner possible. Using her own self-portrait, she portrays a general picture of humanity; regardless of ethnicity, religion and gender. In fact, investigating the mentality of humans and discovering their inner existence has been an attempt for Shideh to better understand and accomplish self-recognition.
Shideh Tami is one of the few Iranian artists who makes a living solely from the sales of her work. Fereydoun Ave is one of the first people who started collecting Shideh Tami’s work and his continuous support has played a vital role in the survival of Shideh’s artistic soul. Ave has said that he has “witnessed Shideh develop and evolve from a sparrow of a poet to a lion of an artist”.
Shideh Tami’s work has been extensively shown in Iran and abroad and is part of several national and international collections.