Zarina Boga is a home economist and an artist of Islamic ceramics, pottery, tie-dye, batiks and henna (or mehndi). She was born in Tanzania, Africa and is a graduate of the Universities of Nairobi, Kenya and Manchester, England in Home Economics. Since moving to Canada in 1975, Mrs. Boga has been involved in teaching, real estate, business administration, property management and running the former Coffee Culture Caffee in northeast Calgary. Currently, she is the owner/operator of the award winning Samosa Grill restaurant, which caters an eclectic blend of East Indian and East African cuisine. At the restaurant, she exhibits some of her artwork, does human body-art and entertains people of all cultures. Mrs. Boga’s latest venture is the Kwanza Banquet Hall and the upcoming Sokoni Café, both located on the main floor of the Samosa Grill restaurant.
In addition to her busy daily schedule, Mrs. Boga volunteers extensively in the Calgary community with multicultural and multifaith activities at schools, the United Way of Calgary and Area, human rights functions, the Winter Festival, citizenship courts, Canada Day celebrations, Heritage Day events, World Partnership Walk (organized by the Aga Khan Foundation) and teaching arts and faiths at Sunday schools. She is a board member of both Calgary Interfaith and the Calgary Folk Art Council and has been appointed as one of the founding directors of the Asian Advisory Board of the Glenbow Museum.
In 1993, Mrs. Boga was nominated as a “Woman of Distinction” in the Arts and Culture category by the YWCA and was one of the judges on the selection committee the following year. This year, she has been the recipient of six awards: the Racial Harmony award and the Best Booth and Best Overall Performance award at the Calgary Zoogala 2003; Best Booth Display at the Calgary Women’s Show 2003; Best Menu Design and Best Community Involvement by Alberta Restaurant and Foodservices Association (ARFA).
Mrs. Boga recently designed the logo for “Women in Spirituality,” of which she is one of the founding members. She also designed the ‘Sunflower’ logo for Calgary Interfaith. Each petal of the sunflower is diverse like various individuals, and yet if you pull one petal off, the whole flower withers. An ardent advocate of world unity, the ‘Sunflower’ logo represents this concept for Mrs. Boga. Because she believes that tolerance, openness and understanding towards other cultures, social structures, faiths and values are very essential to the survival of the independent world, Mrs. Boga uses the medium of art to bring cultures together. She says, “art has no boundaries…it is a universal language.”