Ayesha Gamiet
Ayesha Gamiet

Ayesha Gamiet

Ayesha Gamiet is an artist, illustrator, and art educator, living and working in southeast England. She has contributed the illustrations to the book The Clever Wife: A Kyrgyz Folktale (April, 2022). The story, retold by Rukhsana Khan, is based on a traditional folktale from Kyrgyzstan in central Asia. It tells the tale of a spirited young heroine whose wit and courage draw the attention and admiration of the ruler, followed by intrigue, betrayal, and exile, which the heroine must overcome.

Ayesha’s illustrations in The Clever Wife draw upon her years of study and work in the traditional arts. But in this children’s book, the paintings invite children to walk (and sometimes run!) through another world and time. The broad color pallette used in the book’s paintings move from the brightest of days to the darkest of nights, and project the vibrancy of spring flowers, rich carpets, and multi-colored Central Asian garments. Animals are everywhere as partners in work and as pets. Ms. Gamiet’s depictions of people reveal much of the restraint, and beauty, of traditional art, but for the children who see these pictures, the faces, gestures, and body language will ‘speak’ as well as the text. Parents who read this story aloud to their children will have no problem understanding how these characters are feeling! As is found in the work of many of the best illustrators of children’s books, Ayesha has sprinkled humorous touches into some of the pages. Children and parents will enjoy finding these together. (Take a look at the very indignant maiden in the page-spread shown below for an example.)

Although Ms. Gamiet’s style is based on traditional models, she is able to use new, imaginative ways to bring out the spirit of a story’s scene. Again, looking at the sample page-spread below, we see how she chose to depict the abstract answer to a riddle posed by the Khan. The metallic golden suns and the white edging in front of the characters add a dimensionality to the image, while the watercolor-streaked sky shows that this is not a moment from an ordinary stroll through the garden. The heroine, Danyshman, is speaking of perceptions beyond the normal course of common thought, as well as beyond the expectations of the courtly maidens who never conceived of such an answer themselves nor that a girl of such simple roots could best them all in wisdom. These elements are not just decorative touches — this is a pivotal moment in the story, the clear proof of Danyshman’s special wisdom, and Ayesha employed special ways of demonstrating this.

Ayesha Gamiet’s work is inspired by the traditional arts of the world and the beauty of nature, which is abundantly evident in The Clever Wife, and in her other work. In 2018, she was awarded an ijaza (formal certification) in Islamic manuscript illumination under master illuminators Ayten Tiryaki and Çiçek Derman in Istanbul. In 2018, Ayesha was also commissioned by the Royal Library, Windsor Castle, to produce illuminated frontispieces for four volumes of poetry. One of these volumes was gifted to HM Queen Elizabeth II, and one to HRH Prince Charles. Her work is also in the Royal Library collection at Windsor Castle.

Ayesha’s teaching experience includes training art and design teachers at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, in the Post Graduate Certificate in Education program; teaching at the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace; and teaching for the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts educational programs in London, Cairo, Jeddah, Doha, and Abu Dhabi. She has exhibited her work within the UK and internationally.

Ayesha lives in Maidenhead, England.

  • Awards Won by This Illustrator’s Books

    • The Clever Wife: A Kyrgyz Folktale, told by Rukhsana Khan:
      • Winner in the “Children’s Picture Book” category of the 2023 NYC Big Book Awards
      • Winner in the “Book Interior Design Fiction” category of the 2023 NYC Big Book Awards
      • Gold Medal in the “Children’s Picture Books” category of the 2023 Midwest Book Awards
      • Silver Medal in the “Interior Design” category of the 2023 Midwest Book Awards
  • Author Extras & Links