Leila Ashtiani - Gallery owner, Painter & Art Teacher
Leila Ashtiani is originally from Iran and made the difficult journey to Australia by boat in 2013. Leila is from Zoroastrian faith, a persecuted minority in Iran. Any religion other than Islam is not tolerated and punishable by death.
Leila owned a contemporary gallery in Tehran and was a professional artist. Art was her life but there were severe restrictions on what she could paint. Any depictions of women or anything perceived as political would put her life in danger, hence the decision to move to Australia.
Once she was released into the Australian community (community detention), she volunteered to teach art class in the Detention Centre. Since that time, Leila has flourished in the freedom that our society allows.
This exhibition is a celebration of her work and her new life here in Melbourne.