Gallery: Northgate student Bahareh Taleshi represents struggles in Iran through artwork

Iranian artist Bahareh Taleshi chats with the Mayor of Ipswich Glen Chisholm at the launch of the Su

Iranian artist Bahareh Taleshi chats with the Mayor of Ipswich Glen Chisholm at the launch of the Suffolk Refugee Week Art Exhibition at Endeavour House

An art student at Northgate High School Sixth Form who was unaware of her talents with a paintbrush has successfully exhibited her work, despite having painted for less than two years.

Bahareh Taleshi, 18, who lives in Ipswich, originally came from Iran but moved to the UK with her parents in 2006.

And when she started at Northgate’s Sixth Form, she was encouraged to take art, despite not being aware of her skills.

Bahareh said: “My art skills weren’t that great but I went to Northgate and my teacher Mr Beattie found that I had a special art gem.”

Her work has deeply personal connections, with much of her work representing the struggles in her home country.

She added: “In my first painting I was trying to represent how I felt stuck there and now how I can’t go back to my family there, but it also represents how women have no rights in my country.”

Her work also represents the fear of the Iranian government over the Bahá’í Faith, which it has been reported is persecuted in Iran.

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The hard-working student has already exhibited her work during Suffolk Refugee Week, and is set to have her work included at UCS later this year for the Anna Airy Award exhibition. Ever more remarkable, her work has even been featured on US news channels.

Teacher Darren Beattie, said: “I am incredibly proud of her – she has worked incredibly hard and what is lovely about her work is it has so much personal significance to her.”

For Bahareh, it is important her work reflects the reality of life in Iran.

She added: “With the situation I am in, I want to make a difference in any way possible – even if I am going to put myself in danger.

“I am going into more genetic science based stuff so I can help the world in terms of health.”

A spokesman from Suffolk Refugee Support, which has helped Bahareh and her family since coming to Ipswich, and organised the refugee week exhibition, added: “At Suffolk Refugee Support, we encourage our clients to find ways to express their experiences, whether through artwork or support groups.

“Not all will have Bahareh’s incredible talent, but many will share the themes that can give art in exile such power, like displacement and dual identity.

“We hope that the work of Bahareh and others can help to portray refugees in a different light, as the positive, creative members of society that they are.”