Rubab Zahra

Rubab Zahra

Nov 15 | Interviewed by Minahil Kasher

The Rungg Collective is about conversations with artists from Pakistan.

City of Opportunities | Tribute to UAE

ALLAHUAKBAR | Details

Rubab with her exhibited work on International Women’s Day 2020

“Allah U Akbar” | 80 x 40 cm

Names of Panjatan Pak in Kufic script | 150 x 120 cm

Name Calligraphy | Detail

Hope is blossoming

Frida Kahlo | Detail

Truth | Collection: Let’s Be More Human

Sabr (Patience) | Collection: Let’s Be More Human

Ahlan wa Sahlan | 45 x 30 cm

Acrylic pour and metallic sheen
Freestyle Calligraphy

I’ll begin by talking a bit about the purpose of these interviews. The reason for Rungg itself is getting to know the artists from Pakistan and getting to know the South Asian art and everything that they stand for. I don’t think we have had such conversations with artists and we haven’t talked enough about what makes them South Asian, apart from, of course, that they are from South Asia. So we decided that we can have this little blog, with interviews for our website that would help people get to know all the artists better.

Rubab:  It makes the blog and the whole concept more authentic and unique I’d say.

Exactly. Because a lot of times when we were doing our preliminary research for Rungg, the big names of our art history kept coming up, the very popular ones, and it was easy to find a ton of information on them. But we also wanted to focus on the artists that are here and are alive and are working. I would like to start by asking you to tell us a bit about yourself and your background; what are your interests and likes and dislikes, and anything you’d like to tell us about your art for someone who doesn’t know much about it.

Rubab: I would start by saying that I did not find art, it’s the other way around; art found me. I am a self-taught artist; I never even held a brush in my hand during my life as a student. I was more into science. I graduated in biotechnology and I never thought that I’ll find my interest in art. I graduated from the US in biotechnology and then I got married and moved with my husband to UAE. When I got here, I couldn’t find any work related to my field because, in UAE fields like architecture, fashion and business are more trending in the job market. The only option that I was left with was teaching. I taught for two years, but then that wasn’t my temperament. I didn’t want to be a science teacher but I also didn’t want to stay home without a job. I was restless all the time thinking what to do, whether to switch some other field or to get another degree.

During this phase, it’s funny actually, there was a Pakistani TV series that I used to watch in which the main character was a female painter. The story was all around her. I used to watch her paint and get fascinated by the way she painted. Although she was just acting but the way she was portraying it, it felt very real and very enchanting. At some point, it made me think that I should paint something and this thought came into my mind out of nowhere. So, I started painting and made a few pieces. When my husband saw me painting, he asked me if I was sure I never had any art class? He suggested that maybe I could take it more seriously because he really loved what I had painted. He told me that he didn’t feel like I was an amateur. My husband is the one who encouraged me. He took me to an art store and we bought some art supplies although at the time I didn’t even know about brushes or paints or anything. He bought me my first easel, very beginner stuff and all, and then I started educating myself. It wasn’t like I immediately started to paint; I began by reading books. I read a lot of literature. I watched people paint and I was doing all this every day for more than 7 hours, all of that while managing the daily household stuff. Now, I think being a self-taught artist and looking at my history of work; I have done quite a lot of work in UAE and I have also sold my work internationally. I have my paintings in Spain and Mexico and the UK. I have a wonderful clientele. Honestly, it’s my clients who are always pushing me more when they see my work. When they buy my work, they always come back to me and they have even introduced me to more and more people. I was really bad with all the social media and marketing and it was my clients who pushed me to make Instagram and Facebook pages. I was personally so busy with learning the art itself that I never paid attention to these things and it was very recent that my art got more attention online. So yeah, that’s all. Each day, I kept learning and practicing. And I kept improving and I kept on comparing my old works with my new works.

Amazing. I think you have just described what an organic artist is. Someone so involved in their art and not more concerned with the whole marketing and the selling perspectives. And the selling opportunities just come up later.

Rubab”: Yes, exactly. For me, I never called myself an artist until recently, when people started calling me an artist. I used to think no, I’m just somebody who does art and who doesn’t even have an art degree. Although I’m very much into getting a degree inshallah very soon just to furbish myself more in the field because I have found myself and my soul in this field. Usually, we do not find our passion and we just go with the flow. We just move on with a particular field for education but finding passion is different and it can happen anytime.

Right. There’s a reason that things like art therapy exist. And you know, all these scientific facts behind such therapies.

Rubab: Yes and recently, I did a workshop with people from all around the world who were in their late 40s or 50s and 60s. At those ages, people start having issues with their memory, the eye and hand coordination is not that great anymore and people start becoming depressed. Art therapy does a marvelous job for such people. It gives them something to pay attention to. It motivates them and they have something to look forward to. So, I used to give the participants of my workshops small projects and milestones to achieve as a beginner art learner.

And what was the reaction of the people who were in this workshop and were painting with you?

Rubab: They loved it, they absolutely loved it. They were not expecting this when they joined initially. They thought that they would just paint around and use some colors for fun. They had no idea that they would get so involved with it and learn so much. They were all looking forward to more sessions. It was not just a one-session workshop; they were much more involved with it. They were so happy with me and most of them gave me lots of prayers like khush raho (stay happy/ blessed). It was something that made me feel very good, having that feeling that you’re giving back to the community. Especially because the people I was working with in these workshops were from the Pakistani community.

Indeed, it was giving back to the community. I’m a designer, I just graduated this May from the school of visual arts with a graphic design degree. And, especially this year, with everything that has happened; for me, it came down to one thing like that as artists, we have a responsibility to give back to the community, through our visuals and through our thoughts, through our voice, to give back to the community and spread some positivity. That’s a huge, huge thing.

And a little bit about my background, both of my parents are artists. They met in art school. They graduated from the University of Punjab. This morning, I was telling my mom that I have spent so much time in front of the screen because of my graphic design degree but I think I’m going to start painting soon. I haven’t picked up a paintbrush since my freshman year of college which is disappointing to me.

I would like to go back to one of the things you said. You don’t have an art degree, but you just kind of got into the art. And I think that’s important. I feel like a lot of people who are interested in art, they hesitate to get into the field because they think that having no background would be a huge problem. I love that through your workshops, you are trying to spread that message as well.

Rubab: I always mention that I don’t have an art degree. Sometimes people used to misjudge me when I used to tell them that, especially people who came to me for commission work. Because, initially, people started asking me about my degree, and I would tell them that I am a proud self-taught artist. I would ask them to look at my work and go ahead with it if they liked it or even challenge me and give me a new task because I knew that I could do it So there were just a few, very few out of so many of them who did not like the word self-taught and they kind of underestimated me. But that did not stop me from being proud of it. Because it’s a god-gifted thing and I’ve worked very hard to get the grip and I’m still working on it. It’s not like I’m perfect, nobody can get perfect. Even after getting an art degree, I’ve seen people choosing other styles and experimenting. So being self-taught is in fact, a big achievement for me. And it is a motivation for others because if I can do it, anybody can do it if they are really into it.

That’s wonderful. I think it’s kind of a stereotype when people are not sure if they should go with self-taught artists. And if I speak from my own experience as someone who did an art degree, there were so many people including my teachers and myself who were in a four-year art program but didn’t quite know what to do with life. So, it’s not about the degree when it comes to something like art which requires so much passion.

Rubab: Exactly like, back in the days when I was doing biotech, I didn’t know where I was going or what I would do with my degree. Sometimes, we just go with the flow and think that it’s the right thing to do. But in practical life, we don’t always find our degrees useful or we might realize later that the field is just not for us.

That’s so inspiring, honestly. You’re not just pulling information out of the air; you’re passing along your own experience. I feel like this way you learn more as well, that is learning more by teaching others.

I want to talk a little bit about why you chose to focus more on calligraphy. When and why did you choose this particular style of art?

Rubab: Okay so, initially when I was experimenting and learning, I tried many styles of painting. I tried abstracts, portraits. I tried landscapes. But what I found very close to my heart and what I had fun doing was calligraphy. Although I wasn’t good at it initially because it’s a very strict field and unlike abstract, you can’t do whatever you like. There are certain rules to follow and certain measurements and ratios and proportions to keep in mind.

But even calligraphy, I did not want to keep it very traditional. I adapted and made my own style, and I got a lot of appreciation for my calligraphy books. So apart from the fact that I enjoyed calligraphy the most, the appreciation I kept getting from people also had an influence on my choice. I involved myself more with calligraphy, I did courses, I read books to become better at what I did.

Usually, people link religion and calligraphy, like Arabic calligraphy for many people is just something religious or Islamic. But it doesn’t have to be like this. There are many versions of calligraphy and many contemporary versions of it. So I developed my main style because this (UAE) is a country for expats and we have people from all around the world, from all cultures, all religions, and I wanted to connect with all of these people, not just Muslim people. So apart from Quranic verses, I also started making other small pieces with good greetings in Arabic written such as the words peace, love, freedom, respect, tolerance.I displayed them in Pullman JLT, Dubai and I got a lot of appreciation for it.

I met a few people who liked Arabic but couldn’t read or understand it. One of them was from Spain and one was from the UK. They wanted something painted but they just weren’t sure if what I painted was the same thing as they wanted because they couldn’t read, and my style was a bit different than the traditional ones. But they trusted me, and I painted for them. They wanted an abstract painting with some camels and a desert. I compiled all these small pieces of information about what they wanted and they loved what I made for them. So yeah, I developed my own style but I wanted to keep the traditional style alive as well because unfortunately, calligraphy is a dying art. It’s difficult to learn. It needs a lot of patience and our youth today, they are not that patient because this is a digital time. Nobody wants to hold a qalam (specific pen made of bamboo used for calligraphy) for so long and practice for hours and hours like the master calligraphers used to do before. I wanted to keep that practice going on as well but I also wanted to connect myself with the people around me. Developing the contemporary versions of calligraphy helped me with that and I found my signature style.

That’s wonderful. I mean, you have hit on all the important points because here, when I go to museums like the Met, or all of these museums that have Word Art from around the world, their interpretation of Islamic art and calligraphy is that it’s one styled, rigid, and just very plain. It’s beautiful, but it’s all the same style. I don’t see any color in it but when I saw your work on your Instagram; it was so colorful and with all kinds of different backgrounds and styles. I loved it. And like you said, it doesn’t have to be verses from the Quran or something Islamic just because it’s in Arabic. It can be just the language itself. I think that is very important.

Rubab: Exactly, that was my thought as well and I executed it in the same way. Some people, when they see my work, they ask me if I do something else apart from Islamic art. I tell them that it’s Arabic but it doesn’t mean anything Islamic. It’s not from the Quran. It just says love and patience and hope or something. It took me some time to explain to people that I am not an Islamic artist, I am just an artist. I’m open to everything, all the ideas.

I think that shines more light on the fact that there are so many stereotypes for different languages and cultures or religions. And as you said about people being scared of getting art from another language because they don’t know what it says. I also see this a lot on the internet and on social media that people stigmatize getting tattoos or art from a language people don’t understand, because they feel like artists may not write for them what the client actually wanted.

Rubab: Yes, but the thing is why would somebody give you a tattoo or an art piece of something different than what you want just because you don’t understand the language. I mean, artists love their work. I don’t think that artists cheat people like that. I noticed when I was in the US, we used to have cultural nights in our school. For example, we used to have Chinese nights where we would all dress according to the Chinese culture and we would get our names written as art pieces from stalls for that. I am pretty sure no artist has ever written anything else but what I asked for, why would they?

Once, I designed an Arabic tattoo for a Mexican client. She wanted a tattoo in Arabic because she had been living here in UAE for the last five to six years. And she considered it home. UAE is home for so many people. I’m living here and I know I don’t belong here, I don’t have nationality and all but still, I feel like it’s my home. Somehow, all the people living here feel very connected to the place. They want to feel connected to Arabic even if they can’t understand it or read and write it. So, this Mexican client who didn’t understand Arabic really trusted me and loved the design I made for her.

Great. So, going back to your desire to spread the message about calligraphy not being just a religious thing. Where do you see yourself trying to spread that message more. I know you do workshops and I know you talk to your students. Where else do you see yourself bringing that into your art or maybe even in your social media to spread that message a little bit more.

Rubab: As I told you, I’m very new to online stuff and I am bringing things up very gradually. I plan on doing monthly workshops with a specific theme for example related to Mother’s Day or related to awareness programs such as breast cancer awareness month in October and I plan on introducing my signature style of calligraphy in those workshops. In this way, calligraphy will be introduced to people in workshops that have nothing to do with religion.

Recently I had an interview with a newspaper and was asked how I will survive if I move to Canada or somewhere with no Arab background. I told them that calligraphy is just like any other form of art and people do feel connected to it without even being able to read Arabic. My art will still survive because I have the potential to make people feel connected to it.

I admire your confidence so much. Because you’re trying to reach somewhere, you’re trying to make a connection to all different groups of people like women and old people. That is fascinating. One question I wanted to ask you, where did you live when you were going to school here in the US.

Rubab: I was in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

Oh, cool. Were you born here or in Boston or did you come to the US later?

Rubab: I was born and raised in Pakistan. I moved to the US for studies on the Fulbright scholarship. Then I got married right after and my husband was settled there. He’s born and raised here so even I feel like we belong here.

You said that your husband was super encouraging and is the one behind your success. That’s awesome. What about other family members of yours? How do they react to it all and what are their thoughts on your work?

Rubab: Well my kids, they are a big support for me. I would say that if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have been able to get this successful. MashaAllah, they’re young but very supportive. It is often said that there is a woman behind a successful man. But I would say that there is also a man behind a successful woman and for me, that man has been my husband. My parents have also been very supportive all my life. They sent me to the US when my relatives kept saying that I was too young for that. But they believed in me and they said that our daughter knows what’s right and they trusted me. When I changed my field from science to arts, again they were very supportive and my mother kept praising me and telling me that I was doing great. My father used to say that my daughter is so smart that whatever she does would be brilliant. It doesn’t matter if she’s a doctor or a teacher or an artist. I know that whatever she does, she will always do her best. So my parents, my husband, my children, all of them are so supportive. Whatever work I have done so far, all the credit all goes to them.

That is so sweet. Having supportive parents is the best blessing that you can ever get. Like my parents as well, they never stopped me from doing art. I mean, yes, they are themselves artists as well so I knew they weren’t going to stop any of my siblings from going to art school, but they were generally very supportive about it as well. 

One problem that I see is something you mentioned as well; younger people such as all the fresh graduates with fine arts degrees are not doing calligraphy and are more into abstract art or other forms of art that express more feelings. How are you trying to help young people make a connection to calligraphy and be more interested in this style?

Rubab: Well, young people are now different, and they appreciate different things. When I think about it, I feel like I need to come to their level and make calligraphy more colorful, more alive rather than portraying it as something mundane with a lot of practice. Although, practicing is very important and the only way to master this style. It is something that has been developed over centuries and it has been kept alive by masters of the art. It does need a lot of dedication. But somehow, if we want something to promote on a bigger level, we have to change. That’s what I believe and that’s why I adapted to a more contemporary style. Because if I include more colors in it for my students, especially children and teens, it will be very interesting for them because who doesn’t like to paint?

When I do my workshops, I call it the paint along and I have different themes. Sometimes I do abstract backgrounds with gold leaf and stuff. And then I ask them to do calligraphy on it. I teach them the basics and then we do it with the brush on the canvas. This prevents them from getting bored with the style. That was my way of connecting with younger people. But I’m still thinking to improve it and to incorporate more creative and fun ideas into it.

So now, I kind of don’t want to talk about this, because the entire year has been about this, but…how do you think has COVID and lockdown in quarantine affected your workshops or your interaction with other artists? And during this time, how do you still spread the message and spread your art?

Rubab: It has been difficult. Every night I would think that maybe the situation will get better tomorrow and there will be fewer cases and it will all be over but it has been almost one year now and we still don’t know what to do. Initially, everything just stopped because nobody was ready for it. Till August everything just stopped completely. I didn’t do anything apart from painting for myself. I couldn’t sell much work as well because people were still just trying to survive. To be honest, I wasn’t even in the right state of mind to paint because artists need Peace of Mind which I didn’t have and the news kept getting me more and more scared. Everything was very unpredictable and terrifying especially because I have younger kids around the house and older parents. So initially there was zero productivity but then, later on, we all learned how to live with it. I thought about going online but that is not my thing. I don’t feel the connection that I want to with the people I teach. Particularly, with calligraphy, I want to see how they move the brush and qalam and that is not possible in an online setting. Instead of online classes, I would rather just have one on one sessions with social distancing.

I think it was the right choice. I don’t want to put down other fields and majors who are doing art online. I did my entire last semester online because of COVID but I didn’t feel the kind of connection that I wanted. It felt very weird.

Rubab: I know. And with the kids home, having online classes would have been too much for me. Even the word ‘online’ gets on my nerves. Art cannot be done that way, it needs emotions and connection. You need to enjoy art and in fact, the teacher needs to enjoy it as well and that kind of connection does not build up online.

You’re so right because I had my calligraphy class that I needed for my degree two years ago. I’m very glad and thankful that I was able to do that in person. Although my teacher wasn’t that great but it’s okay because she would see us using charcoal and let us know if our hand movements were right or not. That wouldn’t have been possible online. 

What is it about calligraphy that gets you more curious and interested in it? Is it the movement, the flow, or something else?

Rubab: I don’t even have to think to answer this question. It is beauty and proportion. I’m a very balanced person. I believe in balance, I want to keep things in balance, not too much and not too less. And that’s the absolute beauty of calligraphy. Even before learning calligraphy, it was the perfect proportions that attracted me and the balance it had. The way the lines get short or long or thick or thin, it’s in absolute proportion. It has beauty and balance. Even when I do the contemporary style, I still cannot do it with imbalance. I still have to keep the proportions the same. When I started learning about calligraphy, another wow factor for me was how much this art has developed over centuries and how people have kept it alive over the years.Something I read about and learned is that in the past, calligraphers had to be from a family of calligraphers and had to be someone punctual and loyal. And it was because the calligraphers in those times used to write diplomatic letters. So every kingdom worked very hard to get the best calligraphers, they would even captivate calligraphers from other kingdoms and force them to work for them. These calligraphers would also get jailed or killed if they said no to what was asked of them. It used to be a huge deal back in the past and that is another reason why I am so fascinated by this art. And calligraphy also developed because of the love of people for the Quran. It started developing after the revolution of Quran because people loved Quran so much, they wanted to write it in more beautiful ways to show their love. And then they started making rules and regulations about the proportions and about what kinds of shapes to use and what measurements to consider. There are just a lot of things to keep in mind.

It’s all something that gives this style so much accuracy. So I know that you have experimented with abstract and portraits and many other things, but do you see yourself in the near future or at anytime focusing on any other subjects or styles?

Rubab: Yes, I’m doing it alongside as well. Not as much though. Almost 70% of my work is calligraphy, but I do abstract creatives as well because. As an artist, I did not want to limit myself to just one art form. Abstract was something else I felt very, very close to and I liked doing it. It was abstract figurative because I don’t believe in making exact live portraits. Especially now when you can just take pictures and print them out.

Recently, on the last woman’s day, I wanted to show the diversity in UAE and how we see people wearing skirts, we see people wearing the hijab, we see people wearing all sorts of clothes. What I love about this country is that people are not judgmental. I mean, nobody even cares what you’re wearing here. UAE is a truly multicultural place where nobody cares what you’re wearing, they won’t judge you for it and that’s what I wanted to portray. So I painted to show that diversity and this piece had no calligraphy at all. Rubab: I’m still open to new styles. Maybe in the future, I’ll adapt to another style as well. But I would not leave calligraphy. I don’t think I would ever leave it but I’m open to new things.

 You said you had that you have an amazing clientele. Can you tell me a little bit about the kind of people that buy your art? Is it mostly South Asian people? Is it mostly people from Dubai? Or just generally a diverse clientele.

Rubab: That’s a very interesting question. And I have been asked that a lot. I cannot limit it to one kind of people because honestly, I’ve sold my art to Arabic speaking people and I have sold my art here in the UAE as well. And I have sold my work internationally. I have clients from Mexico, I have clients from the US, India, Pakistan. Honestly, I have sold my work to many people from many different backgrounds.

From what you’re telling me, it sounds like that every single client you have is so supportive and gives great feedback. And I think that is awesome.

Rubab: One of my clients is from the US. She was here on vacation and she found me somehow. She told me she had only 15 days left and wanted me to make something for her that she had in mind. I worked on it and finished it before her departure date. It was a gift for her son. When her son put the piece in his office, he wanted to tag the artists but I did not have any Facebook or Instagram page back then. So, my client called me back and asked about my social media and I told her I didn’t have that and I didn’t have time for it. She suggested that she would help me with it and she has been very supportive of it. The reason why I have this kind of clientele is because I own my work. Once I sold a huge piece, it was a three-meter by one-meter piece on three different panels. I sold it to a client with whom we only talked on the phone and no personal meeting or anything like that. We discussed everything on the phone. He just sent someone over to pick up the painting when it was done. Later, the client noticed that there was a black trip that I overlooked. He took a picture and he sent it to me and asked if I could somehow fix it. He was living quite far from me and I had to drive an hour or so to his place. Usually, artists say no to such requests because it’s already sold and is something so minor. But I thought that he invested in my work and trusted me so I couldn’t say no. Although it was a very tiny drop and could easily be ignored but he was very finicky, so he noticed it. I told him not to worry about it and that I’ll come to his place and fix it. I’ll bring my supplies and all. I went there and my kids waited for me in the car. I removed the drop, fixed it, and varnished it. I used the hairdryer to dry it quickly and my client was super happy. He introduced me to more clients. I think that’s the thing about me as an artist, I own my work. The same thing happened again with a client from Mexico. I sold them five artworks and one of them got a small crack when they were moving out. They asked me if I could do something about it. I went all the way to their place and fixed that. That is the reason why people and my clients feel connected to me, they are not just the investors or buyers and I’m not just the seller.

That’s also such an important message. Because, you know, like you said that art is not just an investment and just because you sold your art, and because now it’s in somebody else’s house doesn’t mean it’s not your art anymore.

So, we’re almost at the hour, but I have a couple of more questions. A lot of artists struggle with selling their artwork and how to differentiate between work they do for their own joy and work for others. Where do you draw that line of when you paint for your pleasure and when do you start adding things in there that make it more sellable.

Rubab: I would say that I cannot just commission work all the time. Because sometimes it gets so frustrating, you lose the liberty of doing things from your heart because working for some clients is very challenging as they have a very rigid plan and idea. Some are confused and I keep changing things according to what they want. But some just want me to have my own ideas and paint what I would like and that just feels like I am painting for myself. But not all clients are like that and yes, it gets very frustrating. Sometimes I have to take a break, and during that break, I don’t take any commissions for a month or so. I just paint because like I told you before if I don’t hold a paintbrush for three or four days, I start feeling upset. So, I paint for myself, and usually, even the paintings I make for myself get sold when I post them online. Although I have four to five huge size paintings for myself that are not for sale, they are for my home, for my dining area, and the hallway. But I do paint for myself and post them online and they also get sold.

I love that the paintings that you are doing for your own peace of mind are also getting sold. I mean it shows how good you are at what you’re doing. The last question is that…you yourself are the researcher and you’re doing your own research and you’re the one who’s experimenting as well, but throughout your journey as an artist, is there anybody that you looked up to or was your inspiration. Any artist or anybody who has inspired you through your research or in getting better at your art.

Rubab: I will not take any one person’s name because as I told you earlier, I have been looking into each and everything. And I think I have learned from every person, whether it was a blogger or YouTuber, or a writer. So I don’t just don’t want to credit one person. Even if I see google paintings related to something, I just open it up and I observe the composition, the background, the depth, the texture. I have learned from each and everyone around me. I don’t want to take one person’s name and give the credit to that person while I have learned from so many people.

It’s important to keep an open mind. It even shows up in your art that you are doing your research and you have experimented. It’s amazing. It was so nice talking to you and I think that the thing I love the most about what you have said is your effort in filling that gap between the stereotype of calligraphy and what it actually is. And it’s an honor to have you on our website.

Rubab:  Thank you so much for your time and for choosing me to be a part of Rungg. I wish you all the best of luck. And I hope you get a lot of success because it’s such a great thing that you are putting up together because we have so many talented artists in our country and they need this appreciation and exposure.

Thank you so much for the encouraging words.

Rubab: Thank you and goodbye

Goodbye.

I did not find art, it’s the other way around; art found me. I am a self-taught artist; I never even held a brush in my hand during my life as a student.

SubhanAllah

Beneath You | Abstract Collection | 100 x 100 cm

I never called myself an artist until recently, when people started calling me an artist. I used to think no, I’m just somebody who does art and who doesn’t even have an art degree.

Abstract Florals
The Holy names of Allah

Back in the days when I was doing biotech, I didn’t know where I was going or what I would do with my degree. Sometimes, we just go with the flow and think that it’s the right thing to do. But in practical life, we don’t always find our degrees useful or we might realize later that the field is just not for us.

Name Calligraphy

This, by the grace of my Lord | 100 x 50 cm

Salaam
Frida Kahlo

Calligraphy is just like any other form of art and people do feel connected to it without even being able to read Arabic. My art will still survive because I have the potential to make people feel connected to it.

Hope | Collection: Let’s Be More Human

Love | Collection: Let’s Be More Human

Art cannot be done that way, it needs emotions and connection. You need to enjoy art and in fact, the teacher needs to enjoy it as well and that kind of connection does not build up online.

Marhaba (Welcome)

Bismillah | 45 x 30

I would say that I cannot just commission work all the time. Because sometimes it gets so frustrating, you lose the liberty of doing things from your heart because working for some clients is very challenging as they have a very rigid plan and idea

All images provided by courtesy of the artist.

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