I’m an illustrator based in London with an educational background in marketing. Being able to express myself through art and writing is a huge part of my life. My day job switches between being the designer/IT chick for a small cosmetics brand and customer service assistant. I also manage to fit in freelance illustration work in between!
My work focuses on the representation of Muslim women where my mission is for girls who look like me to be able to see themselves in my work. I try to keep a balance between religion/culture and general light-hearted scenarios because, just like everyone else, Muslim girls are multi-dimensional and not just limited to the cloth on our head.
Although I am a naturally quiet and shy individual, I make up for it by being opinionated and funny on the internet!
Could you describe your path to becoming an illustrator?
Growing up, I was always the creative/arty kid – I loved painting, drawing and crafts. I bought my first graphic tablet in my first year of university and I just kept drawing and drawing. I only ever shred my work with friends and it was only in late 2016 where I decided to properly push my work out there.
How does identity impact our lives as creative people and how does yours impact your creative work?
Everyone has an identity and that is something you can’t hide or take away. Many of us feel like our identity is unfairly criticised or misunderstood and so, I feel like expressing that through a creative outlet helps us to come to terms with our identity and to feel proud of it.
My work is a constant referral to my identity: as a woman, a Muslim, a POC – it’s why I am able to relate to my audience.
What does creativity mean to you?
Creativity is imagination and freedom. The freedom to express yourself and thinking differently.
How do you nurture your creativity?
I like to follow other creatives and get inspiration from them that will spark new ideas. I also nurture my creativity by observing the world around me and finding opportunities to create something from my experiences.
What cultural barriers have you faced and how have you overcome them?
The irony that art and creativity is so prevalent in my South Asian culture – textiles, music, and poetry – and yet, pursuing art is rarely encouraged. My artistic hobbies were seen as a waste of time and of no value but I kept at it because I enjoyed it. I chose to focus on my happiness and not of other people’s expectations.
What has been an important lesson you’ve learned so far?
Learning to be patient and having faith. This is what has kept me going.
How has social media and the internet helped you as a creative?
It has been vital for exposure and connecting with organisations and fellow creatives. I’ve been able to reach people from all over the world with my work all without having to leave London! I’ve had the privilege to be involved in projects that would have been unreachable if it were not for social media. I think as young creatives it would be a disservice to ourselves if we did not take advantage of it.
What kind of projects are you working on now?
Currently collaborating with a few small organisations and individuals. I recently got the honour to be featured in an MENA arts publication along with other talented women, and I’m also working on a piece that will hopefully feature in a charity exhibition this summer!
How would you describe your artistic style in three words?
Quirky, colourful and cartoon-like