The art of any country is the reflection of its culture, so the artists are bestowed with such massive responsibility of acting as a bridge between their country and the rest of the world. The artists of Pakistan have been committed to their roles ever since the emergence of the country on a world map. From the pioneers Islmaeel Gulgee, Jamil Naqsh, and Zubeida Agha to contemporary Rashid Rana and Huma Mulji, all have contributed to shaping the identity of Pakistan. Even today, the country witnesses the emergence of new talent, making rounds on social, print, and electronic media. Hamda Farooq is one such name, making her way to the list of the highly acclaimed artists, and that too, at such young age. Hamda is a self-taught artist, relying completely on her innate talent. Her recent painting of highly celebrated Ertugrul’s main character, Engin Altan, gained a whopping response from the media.
Recently, we at Pakistan Facts got a chance to sit with Hamda Farooq to have an insight into her aspirations, experience, and this passion of hers.
“Art can’t be taught: It can only be found”, said Bob Evermon which basically harmonizes with what Hamda Farooq said about her interest in art ever since she was a child. “As a child, I knew that I was good at arts and it was in school when I first started painting portraits which contributed to my fame in school. I also won a lot of competitions at the school level. From there it took off and recently I have started working on my online video content series.” She further asserted, “I was sure that I was going to stick with it, as it was something that I am not going to leave and is a part of me. I was sure that this was something that I wanted.”
The one with the artistic bone in the family is generally associated with some aberrant connotation of being negligent towards studies, but sometimes also inscribed as the one “gifted” in the family. Upon asking her family’s stance towards her prodigious talent, we got to know that art runs in Hamda’s family. “I have been very lucky in this matter as I belonged to the artistic family. Almost all of my family members are pretty artistic, pursuing careers in singing, arts, and different kindred fields. So, I always had my parents’ and family’s support to follow my dreams and passions.”
The medium of an artist is the essence of their work, touching the pneuma of those around them. Hamda works with oil paints and almost all of her paintings bring the oil paints into play. She says, “I am focused on oil painting because, in my opinion, oil painting is the biggest medium that was used through the Renaissance period and was employed by all the great artists of that time. So much so that the paintings of those artists are still stored in different art galleries in pristine condition. It has a rich history attached to it which bestows it a certain kind of importance.” As any artist would not want to cloister into their comfort zone, Hamda Farooq also wants to explore other mediums and techniques as well to help increase the reach of her work.
Elevating Pakistan’s image and representing the country on an international level is on Hamda’s list. “I have to go to international markets for physical exhibitions in order to represent Pakistan.”
Nadia Boulanger once said, “Art is not emotion. Art is the medium through which emotion is expressed.” Hamda’s exclusive and distinctive project entails the series of episodes by the name “Voices” on YouTube which actually helped her communicate her thoughts. “It all started a while ago when I was in a place where I had a lot of bottled-up thoughts inside of me. I wanted to say something especially the things that mattered. Then I started thinking that how can I do it, and the painting was the first thing that came to my mind. Painting was something that I was actually good at and I knew that I could express myself through my art the best. This is how started with my ‘Voices’ series.” Further discussing the main idea behind the series, Hamda asserted, “the idea was to portray and bring forward the voices that matter in the world through my own voice. I felt these voices should be talked about and the concerns should be conveyed. All the different chapters in the series touch upon different topics and different issues. The response that I am getting on these series is phenomenal and I really hope that it grows over the course of time.”
Hamda’s innate talent is one of the many reasons that the artist rose to prominence. When we talk about ‘self-taught’, it entails the idea of an absence of any formal education in a particular field. Being an autodidact, Hamda’s art is one such example where the inborn talent takes over the heavy courses and plethora of books. “I didn’t have a specific source from where I have learned, but the process has taught me a lot. When I start with something, the process takes control, and my subconscious mind operates while making all the connections. The process helps in learning. Other than that, I am always willing to learn from whichever source I get. Especially when I feel like I have some shortcoming, I try to overcome that and try not to repeat my shortcomings in my next paintings.” Further talking about this, she emphasized the importance of the internet, asserting that a lot of people are teaching almost all the techniques on different websites which gives an exposure.
Governmental support, coupled with the role of media, is cardinal to the promotion of the arts and culture of any country. Hamda emphasized the role that the media can play in bringing forward the local artists. “I think that media can play a big part to promote local talent because it has a lot to offer which can help promote the artists on the basis of their work.” She also broached a subject of immense significance when she talked about the easy payment methods for freelancers in Pakistan. Payment options like PayPal and Stripe are not operating in Pakistan and the government’s help can be a significant step towards achieving that and “this can encourage the artistic activities in the country because, in today’s time, it’s crucial to stay connected with the whole world”, Hamda averred.
Being a woman of immense talent, Hamda is of the view that the mentality towards women needs to be changed for good. “I believe that patriarchy needs to be eradicated and if I talk in simple terms, then equality at workplaces, at the school level, and in other fields of life should be addressed. Women should be given the freedom along with the trust which would help them to elevate their position in society. The focus should be laid on day-to-day issues without suppressing and degrading them. It’s not about who is better and who is not, it’s about treating each other the same way and realizing that the other person is also human.”
Talking about her future projects, Hamda divulged that she has already started working on the second series which would be like a “surprise” for her audience.
Hamda’s art is empowering, leaving a mark on one and all. We really hope to see such bright artists make the grade, directing the spotlight towards Pakistan.
Watch Full Interview On YouTube: