Spotlight on Mélika Hashemi, Visual Artist
Forging connections from Toronto to Marrakech, we’re proud to present our limited edition collaboration tee with Toronto-based Visual Artist Mélika Hashemi (@melihashemi) and Morocco-based Photographer Ismail Zaidy (@l4artiste).
Zaidy and Mélika both initially connected as they were both featured in Katara Art Culture’s Digital Art Gallery. Having both admired each other’s works, they were open to collaboration. Zaidy sent his, most recent and unreleased (at the time) photos to Mélika, from which she selected a few and digitally collaged them using imagery from Persian Miniature folios. They sold the projects as prints and searched for greater exposure, and that’s where Love Closely stepped in. Having been blown away by both of their work, we were eager to collaborate in the form of a limited edition tee. The back of each shirt writes the following quote by Hafez “This sky, where we live, is no place to lose your wings, so love” -- to tie together the theme of sacredness that transcends both earthly and timely bounds.
5 months later, we are pleased to present these images shot by Zaidy, himself wearing the shirt, to launch the project.
First up, we wanted to shine a spotlight on our friend, Mélika through a Q & A.
Name: Mélika Hashemi
Hometown: Waterloo, ON
Currently living in: Toronto, ON
On being an artist in today’s digital world:
I knew early on that art was a way for me to express myself in ways that words couldn’t -- so I decided to pursue it as a universal language. I look to other contemporary artists to often learn and gain more perspectives of art and where it’s at. I am inspired and look to collaborating than competing
On future projects:
My current go-to statement is Gandhi’s “Be the change you wish to see in the world” - I say this because I plan to move away from exhibiting mainly in gallery spaces and more into the public sphere. Galleries are easily avoided, and given my intention to create more engaging art with the community, I would have to make the public sphere my arena. I am expecting a lot more experimentation and collaborations to deliver messages more effectively.
This is my most recent and successful work. It was featured on the cover of a UK based magazine, Lungs, and selected as a large window vinyl at Open Sesame Shop. The idea sparked from a student-curator who approached me along with other artists for a show he called Displaced, which I hadn’t considered myself until then, seeing as I had never left a place to be displaced from it. I gave it a thought and as a second-generation Iranian-Canadian, I realized that I do experience displacement metaphysically. I have always been interested in Persian miniatures, maybe because I was surrounded by them when I volunteered at the Aga Khan Museum. I researched Persian manuscript folios online and took casual shots of my everyday surroundings. The characters in my digital collages were selected and incorporated into my photographs in ways in which I personally related to them.