Salbhi Sumaiya

Organization Details


A native of Bangladesh, I was born and bred at the heart of the country, the metropolitan city of Dhaka. I started painting at the age of seven and, as a hard of hearing (HOH) individual, was drawn to it naturally because of its accessibility to me as a visual art form. As a child, painting was an instinctive way for me to express my ideas and creativity, and as I turned my passion into my profession, the medium turned into a larger platform for me to be an innovative conduit for social and political change. My themes are usually based on raising awareness on the various contemporary issues faced in today's world. Some of the previous themes in my body of work are on the mass extinction of animals caused by human interference and the calamities faced by Myanmar’s atrocity on Rohingyas. I am currently spreading my footprint across the world in both solo and group exhibitions in numerous countries such as South Africa, Poland, Japan, Bangladesh and India. My work has also been exhibited in partnership with social organizations associated with the subject matter of my work.

Thoughts About Art and Community

My work is a conduit for social change. The themes in my body of work has been determined by my moral obligation towards the world and all the living beings it contains. With some of my paintings, I convey how the world has turned from a safe haven for animals, in other words, a sanctuary, to facing the sixth mass extinction due to habitat loss, fragmentation of ecosystems, climate changes, and pollution. My overall artistic vision is to continue to create art that celebrates the natural world, builds awareness about environmental concerns and animal rights, shows my love for nature, and reminds people of our role as humans and the immediate need to take care of the planet. My next project's focus will be on the threat to Canadian wildlife; some of the subjects will be peregrine falcons, leatherback turtles, blue whales, and red wolves – these are just some of the 531 animals that were considered at risk/endangered in Canada in 2018. I have a history partnering with organizations related to the social causes depicted in my work, and my paintings have reached wider audiences (including political officials), received media coverage, and been sold. I feel that this work, being undertaken by myself with an identity as a newcomer, woman of colour, and person with a disability gives me a unique perspective that I can apply to my body of work, and my success can increase the visibility of arts professionals like myself.


I am a newcomer to Toronto and am still in the process of establishing my arts practice in Toronto. I am a painter and have the goal to exhibit my work in the community in 2020. My experience also includes being an arts workshop instructor teaching children on the use of paints, poster colours, and spray paints.