TEAM

Mahrokh Ahankhah Founder/Director

Mahrokh Ahankhah was born and raised in Tehran, Iran. The early ventures of her teenage years convinced her that her various artistic interests would be best addressed in architectural studies. She embraced her passion and, in 1996, she achieved her Masters degree in Architecture from Azad University of Tehran. Her schooling in Architecture enabled her to work in challenging Architectural projects like Rafsanjani Museum to Markest sensitive fashion clothing design in Zeroten fashion. Her path brought her to Canada in 2004. While working as an Architect in Canada for the Zak Ghanim Architect Company, Mahrokh took another bold step above and beyond her designated and expected job description and established Queen Gallery! Queen Gallery is Mahrokh Ahankhah’s flag ship of diversity & innovation, which sailed beyond merely showcasing numerous international artists. She has taken upon herself to pursue the sacred task of converting mundane events into exciting cultural ones, transforming the corpses of spaces to lively, ambient ones accented by various artistic approaches!

 

Cecilia Garcia Gallery Assistant

Cecília holds a BFA in film studies from the Federal University of Santa Catarina in Brazil and has built a diverse portfolio working in the Brazilian film industry. She previously worked on a variety of projects in the art department of films and commercial productions and ultimately started managing her own set decorating and production service company. After arriving in Canada, Cecília was fascinated by the Canadian cultural landscape; her experience as a volunteer in a community theatre drew her to pursue a career in arts management. Currently, Cecília has a diploma in arts management from Western University and has completed an internship at North York Arts, a Toronto based arts service organization. This is where she further developed her skills and passion in arts programming and volunteer management. Now she is thrilled to be at Queen Gallery and to help to build communities through the arts.


Simone Brightstein Advisor

Brightstein was born in Birmingham, U.K. on 18 December, 1936.At the age of 11 she immigrated with her family to Canada, settling in Ottawa, Ontario.She began her career at CKOY where she worked as a copywriter for two years and then moved to Montreal to work at CKGM, as a writer/producer.Due to family illness, she returned to Ottawa and worked as a fashion copywriter for the A.J. Frieman department store, now The Bay. She became an account executive with the John Doherty Advertising agency where she worked for two years, and then accepted the position of Creative Director at Mayer Kert Advertising.She moved to Toronto to open a branch of Mayer Kert, now The Norman Kert Agency, but shortly after returned to Ottawa to be married to  the late Arnell Goldberg, Q.C.For many years Brightstein worked as a free-lance events coordinator, handling public relations and special events for such programmes as The Great Canadian Birthday Party, The Ottawa Winter Carnival, Ottawa’s first Winterlude, and the first Canada Day celebrations.Brightstein did a great deal of volunteer work, becoming the first chairman of the Canadian Group Of Thirty-Five (women for the freedom of Russian Jewish prisoners of conscience). She was several times chairman of Women’s United Jewish Appeal both locally and nationally and served on the United Israel Appeal national board. She also chaired the Women’s State of Israel Bonds and was a member of the board of the Ottawa Jewish Community Council.  She helped to create the International Women’s United Jewish Appeal and was its first director of public relations.Brightstein was a founding member of the Friends of The Canadian Museum of Civilization and chaired its pre-opening ball. She also worked for many years with the Ottawa Food Bank, co-chairing as Ottawa’s “ Taste Of The Nation” with Carol Bell-Smith and later developing “Cornucopia”, a Vegetarian food festival. Brightstein separated from her husband and   returned to England in 2000  where she spent the next nine years, during which she and Arnell divorced. She helped to re-develop the Bradford On Avon Arts Festival, a major feature of which was “Vegging Out”, a successful vegetarian food fair which later branched further out as “Bradfood on Avon.” She wrote her first novel,  ‘Oshun’s Gold’, which was published in the U.K by Stanford House in 2006, following the non-fiction work ‘Hosts Of Ghosts’, co-authored with Margaret Dobson and published in 2005 by Ex Libris Press.  ‘Oshun’s Gold’ had its second printing in 2007. Brightstein returned to Canada in the spring of 2009 and is living in Toronto.