About Jamileh Salek
An Iranian artist and daughter of a tailor, I was born in the north west of Iran in Tabriz. Growing up in a part of the city on the Silk Road with the World’s Largest Covered Bazaar, I was surrounded by colourful fabrics, carpets, and a multiplicity of designs. Art making was a part of our lives.
I have always been fascinated with positive and negative space in Eastern art, and with Iranian and Japanese miniatures. I strive for unique and poetic statements, and I aim to achieve mysterious simplicity, regardless of the medium.
I use minimum elements to portray fictional and mysterious worlds. I create silence and latency in my works through the scarce use of forms and colour, leaving the narrative without the certainty of an ending; in this way viewers can imagine their own.
The contradictions and paradoxes in my work often reflect cultural issues and migration, and the complexity and challenges of women's lives.
The paintings I create range from realism, to almost abstract. The subjects can be deeply personal or playful or evoke a mood.
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 to create a fantasy world. I use a mixture of mediums including hand-sewing techniques, quilting applications, needlework, home-made natural pigments, embellished cloths and accessories such as beads. The cloth is often recycled textiles.
Books: writing and illustration
The book for children about COVID called "A teeny tiny Virus" was selected as a fundraiser by the Stephen Lewis Foundation.
Another three books are in development: "Snowy People - a place to call home sweet home", "The Legend of Malik Mammed" and "Do You Think I am an Ordinary Cat?"
My home town, Tabriz ,has a history steeped 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 my undergraduate degree in Fine Arts and a Masters of Fine Arts (with a thesis focusing on Postmodern Art) from Alzahra University and Tarbiat Modares University.
Awards and recognition
I have received awards in Canada including the Toronto Arts Council’s Newcomer and Refugee Artist Mentorship grant in 2018.
For more details on my career and academic credentials please click here to download a PDF version of my complete CV
Awards and recognition
-Toronto Arts Council’s Newcomer Artist Mentorship grant in 2018
-Selected for the inaugural thesis of the academic year in the Master's Degree program at Tarbiat Modares University, exploring Post-Modernism in the Visual Arts in 2001
-Honoured with an award for Student of the Year at Tarbiat Modares University in 2000
2019-2023: Toronto Outdoor Art Fair
2019: Flying Colours, Fabric Art Exhibition, Don Mills Library
2018: The World I Live In, Gallery 1313
1994-2006: Solo gallery shows in Tehran and Tabriz, Iran
- "Nightingale in a pomegranate" painting series
- Textile artworks
- "Snowy People - a place to call home sweet home"
- "The Legend of Malik Mammed"
- "A teeny tiny Virus"
- "Do You Think I am an Ordinary Cat?"