About Ilene Sova


Passionate about social justice issues, Ilene Sova is the founder of the Feminist Art Conference, and Blank Canvases an in-school creative arts programme for elementary students. Sova teaches in the Faculty of Art at OCADU University and her atelier at Walnut Studios.

A budding child artist, by age three, Sova was obsessively drawing women’s faces in sketch pads faster than her mother could buy them. She won a city portrait painting competition at the age of four, and the recognition continued with accolades throughout her school years.

At seventeen, Sova began three years of study in the Old Master academic techniques under Classical Realist portraitist Ronald Bayens. Sova then went on to do a foundation year of art at Georgian College, followed by an honours BFA at Ottawa University.

It was at Ottawa University, during her electives, that Sova developed a keen interest in women’s psychology and feminism. After this impassioned awakening, she combined these key concerns and made a commitment to use her painting skills to discuss social justice issues in the lives of women.

Upon completion of her undergraduate degree, Sova received immediate acceptance into the Masters of Fine Arts programme at the University of Windsor. Her technical mastery, emboldened by compelling content, made Ilene’s portraits ageless and subversive, upsetting the old paradigms of the male gaze and the female as victim.

By launching extensive solo and group exhibitions in Canada and abroad, Sova is fast becoming one of the most exciting portraitists. Notably, Sova has exhibitions at Mutuo Centro De Arte in Barcelona, the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Creative Blueprint Gallery.

With numerous appearances in television, contemporary web and print media, including Al Gore’s Channel the Current, Canada AM, CBC News and several radio interviews on the CBC, her work has reached national and international audiences.

Additionally, Sova’s work is featured in the Journal of the Psychology of Women, the Nigerian arts and cultural journal Tabula, the Italian feminist journal WomanOClock and Her Circle Ezine.

Sova was also chosen to speak at Toronto’s first TEDxWomen and was invited by Federal MP’s Peggy Nash and Niki Ashton to showcase her series The Missing Women Project at a National Forum on Feminism in Ottawa.