Jamileh Salek

As an Iranian artist and daughter of a tailor who was born in North West of Iran in Tabriz, I always had been surrounded by colourful fabrics, carpets, different designs. Tabriz has a steeped history in artistic rugs and carpets. Many individuals in the region weave rugs and carpets in their homes. Growing up in a part of the city on the Silk Road with the World’s Largest Covered Bazaar, art making was a part of our lives.

My engagement with the academic arts spans over two and a half decades. I completed my undergraduate in Fine Arts and a Masters of Fine Arts (with a thesis focusing on Postmodern Art) from Alzahra University and Tarbiat Modares University respectively. 

After graduation for the vast majority of my years, I spent my time dedicated to minimalistic figurative art using mediums of acrylic paint. My works emphasize and depict meditations on femininity. The complexity of human emotions is portrayed through contradictory concepts such as hope, loneliness, and love. By merging three-dimensional visual elements in faces and hands and two-dimensional embellishments such as floral patterns, the viewer becomes fixated on the depth of emotions expressed by the figures within the artwork. In 2019, I showed some of them at 58th Toronto outdoor Art Fair.

In 2012, I started to make some collages with fabric. I have continued this style and I had introduced them to Torontonian audiences in 57th Toronto outdoor Art Fair. My fabric arts series reflects women’s deep history and connection to the textile industry. My art is intended to evoke nostalgic feelings and I focus on Eastern aesthetics. I use my knowledge of ornamental designs and harmonic repetition of motifs to create my artwork. More recently, I have tried to get closer to Oriental art which tends to be two-dimensional, reflecting the naïve and simplistic world of a child. My fabric art series uses a mixture of mediums including hand-sewing techniques, quilting applications, needlework, home-made natural pigments, embellished cloths and accessories such as beads. The cloths used often are recycled textiles.  My fabric art aims to create a fantasy world by focusing less on rigid principles in art, if such does even exist.

I have received several awards in Canada including the Toronto Arts Council’s Newcomer and Refugee Artist Mentorship grant in 2018. Currently I divide my time between freelance illustration and creating a new collection of paintings and fabric art.