Mitra Samavaki (she/her) is an Iranian visual artist currently based in Calgary, Canada. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture from Tehran University of Art and has recently completed her graduate studies, receiving a Master of Fine Arts in Photography from the University of Calgary. Her artistic focus centers primarily on photography, a passion that ignited when she was very young. From the very beginning, she was captivated by the mechanics of the camera and how it allowed her to preserve memories by photographing people and places she loved. Soon after, it became more than this; it became a means of expressing her emotions and a way of connecting with people and her surrounding environment. Photography evolved into a therapeutic tool for her.
In 2011, she started her professional career as a photojournalist, working for various news agencies, newspapers, and magazines in Iran for more than a decade. This experience not only honed her technical skills but also instilled in her a deep appreciation for the power of photography to raise awareness and create a meaningful impact.
In 2021, she moved to Canada, and since relocating, Mitra's artistic practice has centred around exploring themes of displacement, in-betweenness, and belonging drawn from her personal journey as an immigrant living between two homelands. She employs photography as a tool to reflect upon and explore her journey. Her camera has played a pivotal role in fostering a sense of place and belonging in her new homeland.
Mitra's work has been selected and presented in exhibitions at venues such as Contemporary Calgary, +15 Galleries, Nickle Galleries, the Art Gallery of Alberta, The Alberta Society of Artists, the Calgary Central Library, and Wild Skies Art Gallery. She has been awarded the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Graduate Scholarships and has also received the 2023 InFocus Photo Emerging Photographer Award. Additionally, she was selected as ICAI's Artist of the Month in April 2022, providing her with the opportunity to share her experiences in an interview with CKUA: Alberta's Radio Network.
She is also the founder and owner of "Tiny-Gift," a platform that emerged during the pandemic. In a time marked by global isolation, loneliness, and financial uncertainty, she made the decision to establish an Instagram page dedicated to supporting Iranian independent artists, designers, and makers. The platform showcases and promotes their art and products, fostering connections with potential buyers. "Tiny-Gift" has transcended its initial purpose.; it has evolved into an inspirational space, encouraging art enthusiasts to transform their passion into a business and serving as a bridge, connecting artists with each other and with the community. Through this platform, Mitra aims to showcase the rich Persian culture on a global scale.
Selected Group Exhibitions
AWARDS, SCHOLARSHIPS AND HONORS
Master of Fine Arts (MFA), University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture, Tehran University of Art, Tehran, Iran
Diploma in Graphic Design, Modarres School of Art, Tehran, Iran
A Homesick World, Nickle Gallery, Calgary, Alberta
Somewhere In Between, Little Gallery, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta
Home–coming, Little Gallery, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta
Homesick World, The Calgary Central Library in Collaboration with ICAI, Calgary, Alberta
Neither here nor there, Gallery 621, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta
Memory Objects, Gallery 621, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta
I Speak Art III, +15 Galleries, Arts Commons, Calgary, Alberta
The Artist’s Lens 2024: Body, The Alberta Society of Artists Gallery, Calgary, Alberta
The Artist’s Lens 2023: Manifesting the Hidden, The Alberta Society of Artists Gallery, Calgary, Alberta
Infocus photo Exhibition: Bringing joy, Wild Skies Art Gallery, The Renaissance Edmonton Airport Hotel, Edmonton, Alberta
15th Image of the Year Exhibition, Iranian Artist’s House, Tehran, Iran
Tehran Identity, Hooner house, Tehran, Iran
The 2nd International Photography Festival of Tehran Milad Tower, Milad Tower Gallery, Tehran, Iran
Monologue, Shenakht Gallery, Tehran, Iran
InFocus Photo Emerging Photographer Award Winner
Alberta Foundation for the Arts Graduate Scholarships, University of Calgary
Faculty of Graduate Studies Scholarship, University of Calgary
IAACC Artist in Residency in partnership with FUSE33 Makerspace., Calgary, Alberta