The Immigrant Council for Arts Innovation (ICAI) is proud and excited to announce that our Artist of the Month for March is the wonderfully talented multidisciplinary artist Honey Jalali.
We were fortunate to sit down with Honey and discuss her artistic journey and her eclectic journey through artistic mediums.
Tell us a little about your artistic background and journey?
I was born in Tehran. I’m passionate about travel because it affords me the opportunity to relish nature and people with their varieties of culture, customs, costumes and arts. I arrived in Calgary in 2020, in the middle of a global lockdown. I had two contrasting feelings: happiness and fear. I reflected for a long time about immigration: closing all the doors of the past and opening a new life. I've been drawing since early childhood. Colour, shape, and word are my magical language which helps me to translate my feelings. I can create this way without boundaries. When it comes to my choice of artistic medium, I try to reflect on what is important and keep my choice organic to the art. The creative process, to me, is about healing.
This journey is not easy for immigrants. It's important for me to find and train talent as an art teacher. Utilizing art as therapy creates a healthier, happier workplace, produces creativity and innovation, and reflects the communities we live in. Human beings are important and need empathy.
Have you had opportunities to showcase your works since you arrived in Calgary?
Well, I have had opportunities to show my artworks on social media during the lockdown. My Series of Dresses was chosen by NNC Gallery in London in Feb 2020. Being accepted into The Grand Creative Residency Program was a warm welcome to me. I made “MY Pillow“ installation series at their free of charge studio. NNC Gallery published the collection of “MY Pillow“ in their art magazine. The ICAI website helped me to apply for a different artist residency in Calgary. The art residencies gave me so much hope in my tough times. The women in my life support me, without them, I couldn’t find my way. It was like I had fallen down and they reached out and lifted me up.
Can you tell us what inspires you to create your works?
Many things inspire me to create my work. I learn many things from art history. Studying the history of art has deepened my artistic expression. Art is not just painting beautiful flowers, colourful pets or nude figures. This is just a starting point to come into the world of art.Simply put, I can say people and life inspire me.
What are the challenges you are currently facing as an immigrant/newcomer artist?
Answering questions in English is a big one challenge for me. I’m picky about writing and I really enjoy writing but I can’t express my feelings well enough in English yet.
As an artist, I need to have connections with curators and galleries in Calgary to continue my journey.
I’m an art teacher. It’s my honour to be a teacher again and I think I’m capable of being a teacher. The Women's Center of Calgary helped me to have art workshops and I need to teach more and more. Teaching is learning from each of the students for me.
What would you like to share with the people of Calgary about your works?
I want to show stories about people, humanity, suffering ,true love, and real life all over the world. We live in troubled times, COVID, Wars, difficulties, and losses.
What trouble is the greatest? We still don’t care enough about one another. We are so ready to build walls between us and others instead of bridges. I try to show my pains, your pains, to share them, maybe find a cure for them, healing through art. We need to support to each other.
What are the goals you are hoping to achieve in the next few months through your arts?
I would love to have a place for Art Therapy. I planned it in a mentorship program with CCIS in NOV 2021. I hope Mentorship programs will take artists to the right job.
I follow my heart in my life and my goals in life have never been to gain wealth and fame.
We would like to thank Honey Jalali for her time and for speaking so openly about her art and her vision for what art could do for society.
If you would like to see more of Honey's art, follow her on social media: