Times of Youth: Tell us about yourself in brief for our readers to know you better.
I’m an artist, motivational speaker, model, vocalist and social activist. I am working as the head of outreach program in a private project. Also I’m about to host a show on Pakistan’s national TV channel. Doing all this being on wheelchair makes me feel stronger!
Times of Youth: What does ‘art’ mean to you, literally or otherwise?
Art is a beautiful medium through which you express yourself, emotions, heartaches, happiness, dreams and aspirations without uttering a single word. I read it somewhere ‘E’ART’H without art is just ‘EH’! So my life without art is surely not complete.
Times of Youth: What inspired you to take up art?
My childhood memories are all filled with colors, paints, drawings, handmade cards and crafts. But I never knew that my passion will become my profession which will save me from depression at certain point in life. The best decision that I took was the first painting that I made in the hospital with a deformed hand. That’s how seven years ago I added colors to my colorless life.
Times of Youth: Who is your mentor?
My father always wanted to be an artist. The first art teacher in my life was my father. And the person who taught me the art of living life being on wheelchair with dignity optimism and self-confidence was my mentor Sarmad Tariq (late).
Times of Youth: Of all the art exhibitions that you have had so far, which one was the most memorable?
I donated my artwork to UNHCR to support Somalia and Afghan refugees. Meeting them and knowing the pain they were going through made me realize that how little things can bring happiness to their lives and our little support and care can make a big difference.
Times of Youth: It is an amazing thing that despite of being a physically challenged person, you went ahead to create such masterpieces. How do you feel about that?
Initially it was hard to paint with a free mind knowing that my body is physically confined. But later I made it my strength. This pain and injury has added soul, emotions and life to my artwork. I paint to spread the message of hope and optimism. And the tag line remains the same ‘Never Give Up!’.
Times of Youth: What does your family have to say about your artsy success?
My family has seen me going through all in life. They are the ones who always encouraged me to explore myself. So I proudly dedicate all what I’ve achieved so far to my family. When I see my mother smiling while going through my interviews, that smile is the biggest reward for me.
Times of Youth: We’ve seen your work and most of it are of women. Any specific reason for this choice?
I think being a woman, womanhood is the only subject I know the best. Also I always wanted to change the perception of the outer world about Pakistani women. I want to let the world know that a Pakistani woman is strong and passionate, she’s a dreamer and her pursuit of freedom is never ending. My women are adorned with the traditional jewelry of Pakistan. So that’s how people can get to know more about our ethnic jewels.
Times of Youth: Another intimidating observation leads us to ask you, why are many of these paintings of a ‘one-eyed’ human?
That one open eye is the Eye of Spiritualism. The closed eye is the one which is unaware of the real happiness but the open eye knows that real happiness exists in spirituality and spreading goodness in mankind.
Times of Youth: How would you describe your colorful journey in a single sentence to sum it all up?
The best masterpieces are created in the worst form of agony.
Times of Youth: What do you think should women of today believe in or do, to bring forth their hidden energies and shape up their futures, much like you did?
One message to all the women out there:
‘Never listen to the ‘Nay Sayers’. Those who say you can’t do it, surely doubt your potential. When I decided to start my professional carrier as a model, artist and host, there was no path for me to follow because of the lack of disability awareness in Pakistan. Everyone said don’t do it because it has never been done before. I said ‘I will be the one to do it all for the first time!’ so I did. Be the barrier breaker, be the one who doesn’t need a path to follow, be your own hero, be yourself’.
Times of Youth: According to you, what changes or other implementations should be made regarding women empowerment across the globe to truly empower women?
Right now women need to know their potential. We have so much to explore in this world and so much to achieve. If you have the potential and guts to deal with the odds and to make the mark, nothing can stop you. Im a woman, Baloch, living in a country where there’s no disability awareness, trying to break the barriers for past seven years. I undoubtedly say that your courage and passion are way stronger than the hurdles and hardships, so never let tiny obstacles get in your way. No one can empower women but Women themselves!
Times of Youth: Its sort of tragic to know that digital art has surpassed and overtaken old style artistry. What do you feel are future prospects in the field of art for hand made work in such a scenario?
I appreciate/love art in every form. Digital art and art on canvas both have a completely different feel. But to me, a painting which is created on canvas with colors, strokes, real thoughts and passion is unprecedented. Nothing can match it ever!
Times of Youth: If we’d ask you to nominate a female friend of yours who has been a role model of ‘Women Empowerment’, who would you choose and why?
I’d like to nominate Zeba Hussain. A woman who has taught me the meaning of ‘being human’. She runs a school ‘Mashal Model School’ for underprivileged children in slum areas of Pakistan. I work with her and I’ve learnt so much from her in terms of spreading unconditional love and education. She’s the mother of every street kid in Islamabad, Pakistan.
Times of Youth: What advice would you give to the young and aspiring artists of today, especially those with disabilities?
Word ‘Disability’ doesn’t exist in my dictionary. An artist is a free soul with a free mind so never let anyone confine your freedom of thought and freedom of expression. Also Never Let Anyone Dis your Abilities.
Times of Youth: Any message that you’d like to share for today’s youth via TIMES OF YOUTH?
There’s a Mexican Proverb ‘They Tried to bury us, but they didn’t know we were seeds!’ Adversities and hardships come in your way to make you stronger. You explore your hidden capabilities and potential in the worst times. So take the challenges head on and learn the art of turning adversities into opportunities. And always remember that nothing lasts forever, it’s only how much you’ve lived, tried, loved and shared.
Times of Youth: Do tell us how admirers can contact you to share their appreciation and feedback.
Readers can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org