My name is Sormeh Saei. I was born in Tehran in 1983, during the longest conventional war of the twentieth century. My life doesn’t flow in a narrative way like most; instead it consists of stops and starts.
The first chapter of my life was a childhood heavily affected by the highly emotional turmoils of the post-revolutionary days in Iran. I didn’t have the cognitive maturity to grasp the extent of all the pain my family and my people have been enduring, and continued to do so everyday. Helpless to these situations, I accepted that way of life, but I never stopped dissecting. I questioned everything since nothing made sense, nor felt right.
In 1994, I left Tehran along with my immediate family, to start a new life in New York. The political conflicts between Iran and America resulted in fewer flights; all of which were never direct. In the journey from east to west, we rested in Rome. In the middle of both worlds, in Rome, we reflected on everything we were leaving in exchange for basic rights. When we arrived to New York, at age ten, I started the second and most significant chapter of my life in the Bronx.
Us humans are an extremely resilient specie who have rebounded from war, violence, betrayal, disaster and heartache. I too rebounded, despite all the challenges I was faced with at such a delicate age.
The third chapter of my life was in 1995 at age eleven; when I finally became fluent in English. Feeling alive and since too romantic to shy away from risks, it was clear to me that art was what I wanted to pursue. I took a leap of faith and with the help of my junior high school art teacher, Mr. Josephberg, I sent out my applications along with my art portfolio. I was accepted to the specialized and prestigious art school; Fiorello H. LaGuardia of Arts & performing Arts, and graduated at the top of my art class. At age seventeen, I had the honor of having Jerry Seinfeld as a guest at my first group art exhibition in Lincoln Center.
The fourth and last chapter of my life thus far, was in 2000. I sacrificed my dreams of studying art, by enrolling at Stony Brook University to earn a nursing degree with a scholarship from Women in Science & Engineering. To ensure the security of my younger sister and I; in a God forbidden event something were to happen to my parents, I paused my passion for survival. Living in a new country for less than six years, without any relatives, created challenges far too critical to ignore.
As a professional artist, my work has established me and taken me on exhibitions to cities and countries such as Atlanta, Miami, New York and Rwanda. My paintings encapsulate a variety of subjects that are captured in a delicate nature infused with a balanced touch of eastern and western aesthetic. My artwork is a reflection of my journey through life as a bi-cultural experience. I am honored to have been recognized by some of my favorite musicians growing up, such as Grammy award winner Nas, Jay-Z, DMC and Pras of The Fugees. My most proud contribution to the arts thus far was starting SheFete, a 501c non-profit organization in 2017; which supports the arts by featuring works of local and international artists at its’ charity art events, benefiting and fundraising for the betterment of women both locally and internationally.
In tune and driven by emotion, understanding the human heart from a scientific angle was very intriguing to me. Therefore, as a registered nurse, I specialized in Cardiology. With nine years of CardioThoracic Intensive Care experience at New York Presbyterian hospital at Weill Cornell, I’m pleased of my significant role in post-surgical recovery of the heart during the most vulnerable stage of the human body. New York Presbyterian hospital continues to rank in the first place in New York and fourth place in the nation. My most proud contribution to this institution thus far was changing the arterial line management protocol and chest tube management protocol across all the five campuses of New York Presbyterian hospital in 2016, based on my research studies.
I believe that emotion is not only a central part of our dealings with life, but also closely connected to our motivation and behavior. To recognize, understand and manage human emotions is what I have professionally dedicated myself to, both through art and medicine. Despite all the challenges I have faced in the past and the new inevitable obstacles life will bring, this undeniable love remains evident. My accomplishments as both a professional artist and a registered nurse, are and continue to be, as a result of my deep sense of compassion.
I currently live in New York with my dog son, Picasso.