Zahraa Hayat is from Tiohtià:ke/Montreal. She has completed her BFA in Studio Arts with a minor in Art Education, at Concordia University. In 2009 and 2010, Hayat was trained at the École des Beaux-Arts 4D de Snejana Ivanova in Montreal. She continued her art studies at Vanier College (2010-2012) and obtained a DEC in Communication: Art, Media, Theatre with a Women’s Studies major. Zahraa Hayat self-identifies as a visibly Muslim woman with an invisible disability. Since taking fiber and textile art classes at the university, the veil has been the main object in her art practice but also a referential attribute for her paintings. Working mainly with painting and drawing, she explores the importance of how dolls can play on one’s individuality. Her works were showcased in various group shows in diverse galleries such as Articule, Atelier Gallerie 2112 the Yellow Fish Art Gallery, Eastern Block, Di Meglio Studio-Gallerie, and Ancienne École des Beaux-Arts de Montréal. Hayat has also showcased at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, she is featured in the exhibition 4th Wall: Art of Inclusion: Muslim Youth Take the Lead, a project supported by the Michaëlle Jean Foundation, and the Institute for Research and Education on Race Relations. Hayat is also an art educator; she began her professional experience by being an art tutor for students enrolling in sculpture classes at Vanier College. While joining in art workshops at leisure centers in her borough, she was fond of the socialistic environment that a community art setting encompasses. Hayat has since then determined to teach art in community settings.
“My paintings consist of portraits of a specific fashion doll called Blythe. She is well-known for her collection and customization. It as a doll which is personalized to wide characteristics. For this reason, this doll influenced the way I see myself, and I have determined to veil her. There is a profound and personal reflexion that perhaps the world hasn’t created or seen, but I have created for myself. Considering a doll is not simply an impersonal play object, it becomes the holder’s natural and trustworthy guide in daily life. The holder becomes attached to their dolls and share a strong fondness. A doll is given a name and an identity of its own. Therefore my work holds visual representation in which the figurative center of art is adopted. For me, the representational subject-matter is important and the simple pictorial elements of hue, texture, form, and composition become the source of originality. Painting the doll’s face realistically is very important; so that the audience can have a sense of feel and comprehension to it. I believe that both expression and beauty in art are central. Art always functions as a “counter-environment” created to make visible what is usually invisible about a society (McLuhan). ”