Although I have experimented with traditional and digital work I have always preferred the making and final product of traditional pieces. I have had experience with painting and drawing but recently I’ve very much enjoyed lino printing. I consider myself an artist and print maker.
I’ve always been enthusiastic about art but I never really considered it as a career until I started college. My degree was in illustration which I liked as it gave me artistic freedom to go into whatever medium I desired, without being constrained to a specific brief or context. I consider my final project to be the starting point of seeing myself as an actual artist. It was with this and creating my Syrian refugee series that I found purpose in my work and saw the potential I could achieve once I left university.
Personally, I wasn’t quite sure what was to become of me artistically after university. I’ve always known the unpredictability of the art world and its ruthlessness. However, after I graduated I stumbled across a three-week art programme called ‘Gallery 37’ where I met other visual artists, got into contact with people working in the industry and even created a shared exhibition in Birmingham’s creative corner, Digbeth. It was then that I realised my heart was in exhibiting art and representing myself and my work.
After this I applied for a 7-month artist residency opportunity at my universities print room, which gave me the confidence to develop my practise whilst still being in the comfort of a familiar surrounding. It was here that I developed my Islamic art prints and explored multi layered lino’s. Whilst doing the residency I also engaged in exhibition opportunities in London, being a part of small scale events to meet new people and build my profile.
I’ve always enjoyed basing my work around cultural themes and people. With my Syrian refugee project it was about bringing awareness to what was happening as I realised not many people knew much about it. I like the idea of educating myself when making new artworks especially when it’s to do with the subject matter that I feel is less shown. Although some might not agree with controversial or political topics to be turned into art, I feel it’s important to bring light to certain issues and art can be a perfect platform for that.
Currently I am working on my own solo exhibition in mid June at the GAP Arts Project. This would showcase both my Syrian refugee work as well as my Islamic print series. For me to do a solo exhibition a year after graduating means a lot as I didn’t think I’d get to this point so soon in my life. It was from putting myself out there and joining in on volunteering work that I expanded my creative circle and created opportunities for myself. My best word of advice is to continue momentum and never compare yourself to anyone else. For the future I would like to facilitate more of my own workshops and showcase more of my work.