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, Ilene 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, backed and emboldened by provocative content, made Ilene’s portraits ageless and subversive, upsetting the old paradigms of the male gaze and the female as victim.
With extensive solo and group exhibitions in Canada and abroad, Sova is fast becoming known as one of the most exciting portraitists in Toronto. Most recently, Sova had was featured in a Solo show at Mutuo Centro De Arte in Barcelona. Sova has had 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. Sova’s work has also been featured in the Journal of the Psychology of Women, the Nigerian arts and cultural journal Tabula and Her Circle.
Most recently Sova was chosen to speak at Toronto’s first TEDxWomen and was invited by Federal MP’s Peggy Nash and Niki Ashton to showcase the Missing Women Project at a National Forum on Feminism in Ottawa.
Passionate about social justice issues, outside of the studio, Sova is the founder of the Toronto Feminist Art Conference, and is a member of the 3MW art collective which explores race issues through portraiture.