When women’s rights activist and artist Sima Alikhani started her new life in Australia, she vowed to continue to follow her passion.
Born in Kurdistan, Iran, she first began creating art and drawing at just seven-years-old.
“Making art is a way for me to express my feelings. Art is my passion and profession,” Ms Alikhani said.
“When I paint, it makes me feel relaxed and happy with what I’m doing with my life.”
The mother of two is a University of Tehran graduate in visual arts and was a high school art teacher in Sanandaj, Iran.
“I love teaching and passing on my knowledge and skills,” she said.
“My goal is to continue my education with a masters of fine art and teach art again.”
The Seven Hills resident was crowned the winner of the People’s Choice Prize in the 2016 Blacktown City Art Prize for her work Fly.
“Fly has a strong message. This artwork portrays a woman passing through all barriers to get equality,” she said.
“You can see the woman in the painting, her emotions are very strong.
“Throughout university I was exposed to various degrees of oppressive rules and diminishing laws against women.
She said the acceptance of the laws seemed unnatural to her.
“This motivated me to seek opportunities to work with women who were subjected to forms of violence,” she said.
“After I completed my studies I formed an independent organisation aimed at supporting women and children called ‘Jame Hemayat Zanan Koodakan’, meaning ‘organisation to support women and children’.
“This experience has rekindled the fire and the desire to continue my art practice and my vision of being an inspiring individual by supporting women’s rights.”
Ms Alikhni will receive $1000 as the winner of the popular vote.
Art is my passion. When I create art, I am putting my emotions into the work. Each art work is a vision and tells a story.
“I appreciate the opportunity given to me by Blacktown Arts Centre and the community.”
Ninety artworks from the 2016 Blacktown City Art Prize, in a range of disciplines including drawing, painting, sculpture, printing and ceramics, were selected for exhibition by a panel of arts professionals.
Entries for the 2017 Blacktown City Art Prize will open in September.