Dialogue feature

Dialogue 37 | Hira Kazmi

BIO:

Hira Kazmi is an internationally featured illustrator based in Pakistan. Her work embodies societal taboos. Every illustration that she makes, every endeavor that she undertakes has within her heart a mission for breaking stereotypes and bring social justice. Although she is a mere speck in this world she knows, one day it will make an impact as her vision remains centered in Love.
Hira has had her work exhibited online on several platforms including TCC McKeon Centre for Creativity, Tulsa, USA, Rooftop art center, UK, University of Arts, London, and 2 online exhibitions on Korean and Japanese websites. She has published her illustration in the Book “Plague 2020” and “I am not crazy” anthology. She has participated in several international magazines including Entropy, Ainmagazine, art for all magazine, and Feminism around the world.


Tell us more about your background and artistic path, please!
I am Hira Kazmi, a 26 years old woman living in a small village in Pakistan. I did my MS in human genetics in 2020. I have always enjoyed both writing and the visual worlds of photography and painting.  I am a self-taught illustrator and it’s been 2 years since I started creating art to talk about major problems that I think every individual experience in their lives including mental illness.
What is your source for inspiration? Could you share with us a book, music, movie, maybe a person or action that trigger your emotions?
My society is actually the biggest influence and source of inspiration. Most of my art is based on observations and interpretations while others are my own experiences.
I love making new images that I haven’t seen before. I’m always looking for that exciting and unknown feeling
You raise vital issues through your art such as gender equality, taboos in societies, breaking stereotypes. Why did you choose these particular problems? Have you faced obstacles being a female artist? Could you tell us a little more about the Pakistani art scene?
Well, when I create art to break stereotypes or support mental health, my aim is not restricted to reach only my community because I see these problems everywhere in the world.  Women have been affected by suppression for centuries in most careers. I feel so honoured to see women artists today are more confident, working in a wider variety of fields and that should be celebrated, you know. I think we should continue to allow ourselves to further blur the boundaries between traditional categories of just studying science or engineering because there are so many different fields that are yet to explore by many women specially the ones living in rural areas. 
I believe one should not limit themselves from doing anything that inspires them.
We would love to hear some explanation of one of your works. It is always a pleasure and invaluable experience to hear about art pieces from the artist’s mouth!
I love one of my art named life is beautiful. I created this art for all those people out there who feel like they don’t have a purpose to live, who feels like they are standing on the verge of failures, who are thinking giving up is the only way left. By creating that art piece I wanted to tell my people that you aren’t the only one who feels like this. Everyone including me feels the same at certain point in our lives. This is how life runs. One thing we need to remember during such situation is, we are worthy. It’s just a little road that’s gonna end soon and then you’ll find yourself in the valleys of your achievements. I know it sound strenuous and hard to keep going but it will worth it in the end.
A very fashion question: are you familiar with NFTs and its market? Have you registered and sales something on platform such as OpenSea, Foundation? If yes, please, tell us about your experience!
No. I came across a page @artsynft on Instagram and they wanted to feature my work. Unfortunately, I could not afford a press release but my art is still present in their page gallery.
Could you share with us your current projects/exhibitions/book illustration/etc. or planned ones?
I have created art for a UN competition organised by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Human Resources without Borders (RHSF), in collaboration with Cartooning for Peace. Among 400+ cartoons from 62 countries, my art is among top 12 cartoons. Final results will be displayed soon.
I have also created art for a Los Angeles based digital magazine that will be released on July 17th.
Other than that I have been a part of exhibitions on several platforms including TCC McKeon Centre for Creativity, Tulsa, USA, Rooftop art center, UK, University of Arts, London, and 2 online exhibitions on Korean and Japanese websites. I have published my illustration in the Book "Plague 2020" and “I am not crazy” anthology. I have participated in several international magazines including Entropy, Ainmagazine, and Feminism around the world.
That is great! We congratulate you with being shortlisted in a UN competition! Good luck with further achievements!

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