Leyla Tonak is an artist living and working in Brooklyn, NY. She earned her BFA from Boston University as a Presidential Scholar and a member of the Kilachand Honors College. During her degree she also received the Yawkey Nonprofit Stipend, the Dean Elsbeth Melville Scholarship and the College of Fine Arts Dean's Award for Academic Excellence. Her written work has also been published in Best College Essays 2014.

Most recently, she was awarded the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation grant for emerging artists. 

Tonak's large-scale oil paintings have been compared to nightmares. Her work attempts to reexamine gesture and metaphor through the lens of sex, power and family.


[email protected]


BFA, Summa Cum Laude, Boston University, 2018


Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant, 2018

School of Visual Arts Dean’s Award for Highest Grade Point Average, 2018

Dean’s List Special Distinction, 2014 – 2018

Dean Elsbeth Melville Scholarship, 2017

Yawkey Nonprofit Internship Stipend, 2016

Presidential Scholarship, 2014

Best College Essays, 2014



ContinuumBFA Thesis Exhibition, 808 Gallery, Boston University

Rubbings, Gallery 5, Boston University


Arts at Sloane House, Sloane House, Brookline


Arts at Sloane House, Sloane House, Brookline

Internal Testimonies, Gallery 5, Boston University


Guest Critic, Bunker Hill Community College, 2018

Panelist, Prison Arts Roundtable, Boston University, 2018

Visual Arts Lesson Leader, BU Prison Education Program, MCI Norfolk, 2017 – 2018

Counselor & Teaching Assistant, BU Visual Arts Summer Institute, 2017

Studio Arts Teaching Assistant, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2016


Gallery Intern, Ortega y Gasset Projects, 2018 – 2019

Gallery Assistant, Boston University Art Galleries,  2015 – 2018