The largely self-taught portrait artist, Simone Malik, was born in East Bowling, Bradford. After completing her A level studies, including Art, she studied Psychology at the University of Leeds and worked in the NHS before being made redundant. She decided to pursue art professionally as a freelance career after drawings she had posted on Facebook were admired by BBC sports personality and football agent, Shehneela Ahmed, who commissioned a portrait of herself from Simone.
Simone, who is related to the former ‘One Direction’ singer, Zayn Malik, gained public attention when she was awarded ‘Best Celebrity Artist’ by the Oracle Magazine in 2016 for her memorial painting (see below) of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Kurdish boy, who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in September 2015 during the Syrian Refugee crisis. The painting was sold for over £1000 at auction for charity at the Oracle Magazine Awards evening. She told the Asian Express:
The Syrian boy painting has been painted around the world by other artists. I had looked at what other people had done and there wasn’t an oil painting. It was something I felt very strongly about and people around the world were moved by it, too. I then had the opportunity to auction the painting and all the money went to Save The Children in Syria.
In 2016, Simone was commissioned by the Jinnah group of restaurants in Bradford to paint portraits of Allama Iqbal, Fatima Jinnah (see below) and Mohammed Ali Jinnah, where they are now displayed.
Other portrait commissions have included the former Bradford West Respect MP, George Galloway (see below).
In 2018 Simone was nominated – and gained – an Asian Women of Achievement Award for her creative initiatives.
(With thanks to Simone Malik for permission to use the images shown)