Mahdees Siddiq chats with the uber talented artist, Anum Jamal. She has participated in exhibitions and did collaborations in Karachi, London, Coventry, Birmingham, Herefordshire, Vienna and New York. Recently, she won the Juror’s award in the Annual Ladies First Women Exhibition in New York. Here we get to know more about this young, fabulous artist who’s made a name for herself around the globe:

Was becoming an artist always your goal?

I have been an observer from a very young age. And with time, I realized that representing my observations visually was the most effective way. Furthermore, I was always drawn to reading about numerous art movements and the different ‘isms’ that have shaped art over the centuries. Moreover, miniature painting has an influence on many of the aesthetic and cultural notions of Pakistan and thus I felt it to be an apt depiction of my content. Likewise, with time, I realized that for me, art was an integral tool for initiating a discourse about any issue, and hence I feel it is a very powerful representation for any aspect.

What’s your educational background?

After completing my O and Alevels, I earned my Bachelors in Fine Art from the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in 2012, and my Masters in Contemporary Art Practices from Coventry School of Art and Design in 2015. I earned both my degrees with overall distinctions.

Which form of art do you specialize in?

I specialise in miniature painting. However, I also work with drawing, painting, installations as well as performance art. I mostly amalgamate miniature art with other mediums to epitomise my concept.

What has been the biggest challenge for you?

Although I may not label it as the ‘biggest challenge’, but I have heard often from quite a few people that my work alludes masculinity. I have been queried upon the hard edged nature of the work. And although I am always interested in this discourse, yet it does initiate a dialogue about what is feminine and what is masculine.

Which artist are you most inspired by? International and local

Frank Stella, Agnes Martin, Zahoor ul Akhlaque, Sumaria Tazeen, Albrecht Dürer and Alphonse Mucha , to name a few.

One thing you love and one thing you hate about what you do?

What keeps my passionate drive for art intact, is the fact that it provides me with a beautiful and integral platform for voicing my concerns and raising awareness about the aspects that I am interested in.

Other than art, what are you passionate about?

Apart from Art, I love reading and writing. I love to read when I’m not working, especially the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Franco Berardi and HG Wells. I do write a blog since I am inspired by the above mentioned writers, plus my sketchbook is an amalgamation of rough sketches as well as short phrases and even sentences which aid me in penning down my thoughts. I also have been running my art gallery called Thar Gallery and I enjoy the different paradigms of art marketing that I am learning along the way. At the moment, I am working simultaneously on my art career as well as on running the gallery.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

I foresee myself doing more exhibitions, to further solidify my career and to allow me to honor my craft and integrate it with contemporary aspects.

How would describe your work in 3 words:

Optimistic, Diligent, Empowered.

What do you think about artists in Pakistan? Do you think artists are given enough credit here or what can be done to further improve the art scene in Pakistan?

Pakistani art is garnering immense fame and support, both nationally and internationally. Pakistani artists are now acquiring effective means to represent the art, culture, society and history of this country. Furthermore, quite a few art organisations in Pakistan are providing upcoming and established artists with strong platforms for showcasing their art.

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