Tell us a bit about yourself
I am an immigrant Iranian artist. I heal myself with art. I found my real soul in quiet moments with myself. I would like to share what I found in art with all women in the world.
How did you get started as an artist?
When I was 4 years old I was in a park with my family. There was an artist there who decided to paint me among thousands of children in the park. My parents asked him if he could give us the picture, and he signed and gave it to my parents. We still have this picture in a frame on our dining room wall. This was the first painting that made me feel close to artists and inspired me to pursue art. My parents also inspired my pathway to art. My father also encouraged me to be an artist as he is a painter as well. My mother paints too and I always remember the details she includes in her paintings. Lastly, my piano teacher also helped me to get started. He gifted me my first art supplies when I was 5, which included 150 coloured pencils. I used these in university and still have a few I use.
How do you feel about being a woman in the art scene in Calgary?
I have felt very welcomed in Calgary and in my residencies. As a woman in Calgary I feel I can breathe and be myself through my art.
What do you think we can do in the city to better support women in art?
As an immigrant woman in the art scene, there are more barriers to finding opportunities. I think we need to talk more about how we can better support immigrant women in the art scene. I am very grateful to be in Canada to freely speak about this perspective. There are many biases and discrimination, and I hope this is something that can change.
What are you most excited about for your residency here at the Women’s Centre?
I am excited for the sharing and learning that I will get to be a part of with staff, volunteers and women. I am looking forward to the connections and relationships I will make, with chances to hear women’s stories. I believe that we can all help each other to be happy.
What does feminism mean to you?
Feminism means opening doors so other women can rise. Feminism means not being afraid to use my voice to speak against inequality. I am an advocate for equality for all, no matter the race, sex, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Who is, or was, an influential woman in your life?
My mother is my inspiration in my life. She gave me self-confidence and taught me that I have the same rights as men. In my country it is hard to be a free minded woman, women are expected to follow men.
My teacher Mr. Hamid Severi is also my role model who taught me about feminism in Art History. He taught a course on this at a time when this was not talked about much.