Born in Tehran, Amir Sheikhvand currently lives and works in Toronto. After completing his academic education in biology and graphic design, he went on to study jewellery and graduated from Tehran’s Gold Institute in 1994. He completed several apprenticeships with some of Iran’s masters in the field of malilekary-filigree work – and minakary-miniature enamelling. He is a pioneer in the field of teaching women the art of jewellery making in Iran. Sheikhvand resumed his practice in Canada in 1999 after several solo exhibits in Iranian galleries.
Sheikhvand has executed numerous outstanding pieces of fine jewellery for one of the most prestigious design studios in Toronto. As an advisor he provides help to emerging craft artists at Harbourfront Centre and is an active mentor for students at George Brown College. He is a member of Society of North American Goldsmiths, Metal Arts Guild of Canada and Ontario Crafts Council board of directors.
Sheikhvand received numerous awards for his practice in Contemporary Art Jewellery and his work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in both juried and invitational exhibitions at museums and galleries such as Design Exchange, Valery Art Gallery, McMaster Museum of Art, Tom Thomson Art Gallery, Ontario Crafts Council Gallery, Tehran Contemporary Museum of Art and Harbourfront Centre.
Sheikhvand honours the materials by letting them speak, and he manipulates them in ways that make it difficult to recognize their original source. It is an important aspect of his art that he knows each material’s potential to contain and transport the meaning. His use of graphic renderings of Persian calligraphy and typography allow him to explore the boundaries of jewellery art and Persian poetry. He breaks up and connects these boundaies by incorporating a portion of a text or a poem and presents the characters of the alphabet as if they were the abstract composition of the painter. Geometric, often cubic forms, and grid systems mixed with organic shapes, solid colours and repetition are key features in his work. By expressing his ideas through industrial and non-conventional materials, Sheikhvand demonstrates his willingness to redefine the notion of beauty, worth and adornment.