Sajida Hussain, 55 is Islamabad based Pakistan’s renowned figurative artists. She is a mother of three. Sajida Hussain did a diploma in painting and sculpture from Hunerkada, Islamabad, in 1999 and then advanced her training in painting by attending classes for two years at the studio of Masoor Rahi and Hajra Mansoor. She had her first solo exhibition in Karachi in 2000, and since then, has held several solo exhibitions and group shows over a period of 16 years to her credit. Her woman on canvas is surrounded by vibrant cheerful colors and romantic objects. According to her teacher Mansoor Rahi, “Sajida maintains well, the integration in formal form and void surface through using soft value and light, which creates an impact of fantasy.” – The News. Her medium of expression is oil on canvas. She is realistic artists and did her majors in sculptures. Portraits are her specialty.
AN: Thank you so much for your time, I am humbled. 18 years – your career sounds eventful-what influenced your evolution as a figurative and portraits artist?
SH: I am honored, I hope you are doing fine? Ah, these 18 years are best part of my life. I cannot express them in words. As my life and passion is painting and arts, so it is indeed an eventful career. Well, nothing as such influenced me. I am an artist by birth. When I was 7 years old, I drew first portrait. Since then I always found myself curious about drawing portraits and figurative figures.
AN: I have seen your work, it is very catchy and beautiful. It reflects that you love playing with colors and strokes. Your work is mix of impressionist art and modern art. So, tell me what is the best part about working with oil paints and pallet knife canvas painting?
SH: Thank you, I am glad that you love my work. Yes, impressionism and expressionism are quite evident in my paintings. I believe that it’s the expression that defines the work of an artist like me. I am feel very comfortable to work with the pallet knife and oil paintings. The best part is painting itself.
AN: I see passion and spark in your eyes. When you first drew, what were your feelings? Do you still contain the same feelings?
SH: Those are un-explainable feelings. You are quite sharp to notice that passion and fire. I feel like I am in another world whenever I draw or paint. I still had had the same feelings while painting but with more passion, zest and zeal I paint now.
AN: When you draw portraits what is your focus of creation? Expressions? Emotions? Or the physical features? What is the most challenging part?
SH: It’s sometimes my imagination and sometimes the face that clicks me. As I told you earlier my focus is mainly on expressions. You know! To capture exactly what you imagine remained the hardest and challenging job. I have figured out a way now. I have a sketch book, where I jot down the thoughts and figures. As to imagine and then to bring it on canvas is a challenging part. So, I draw first raw draft in my sketch book then refine those ideas on canvas. One pocket size sketch book is always with me. While waiting people listen to music or read books, I draw in my sketch book.
AN: What attracts you when you are drawing and making sculptures? Why sculptures are important for an artist?
SH: The depths, curves and the dimensions of the subject attracts me the most. I think artist must learn the art of sculptures making. A professional artist can learn this way the value, dimensions and 3-D depth in painting as well.
AN: Did you ever think that you will become internationally acclaimed painter? What are your thoughts about the contemporary Pakistani arts?
SH: I never thought like this but by the grace of ALLAH where I am right now I just cannot express in words. About contemporary art I must say that I have seen the time of ups and downs of art industry and these days Pakistani artists are flourishing – as people have started taking interest in this regard. No society can live without arts, without it a society and a culture dies. It brings harshness in the society if neglected… In last 10 years the boom in the art industry has made me hopeful that this love and passion for arts will remain for quite long. I have seen awareness regarding arts amongst the people. And to revive our arts, I have started giving tuitions to the students as well. I tell them to create and draw what they like the most but with their own perspective. I think this is one small effort from my end to keep our contemporary art alive.
AN: You believe that nature and horses are symbolic in your works, so why horses? Why not any other animal?
SH: (with giggles) Well, I love horses because they are my inspiration since childhood. Their strength, movement and the depth of muscles are inspiring. Along with horses the draping and the clothes’ curves are inspiration for me. Weird, I know.
AN: In Pakistan can an artist have great success, such as you have had and are having, acting only by themselves? How was your experience as a beginner back then?
SH: I acted myself on every level. Your talent is everything. One has to struggle hard, this is a universal truth. You cannot achieve anything without hard work. My experience was full of ups and downs like every normal person. I used my talents and dedication towards the field of arts and sculptures. I have observed people who ask for the success like a golden spoon without any struggle and hard work. This is not the way. Keep up the hard work like I did and have strong faith. You will achieve things beyond your expectations. In a society to make yourself acknowledged in a big thing.
AN: Family plays a vital role in making and breaking one. So, how supportive your family was in this regard? As we all know that in Pakistan artists have had to go through a lot.
SH: Well. In the beginning I faced the sheer bad moods and attitudes. But I would like to mention here that my husband remained my support throughout my career. He still is very supportive. Indeed in our country there is no such support for the arts so an artist has to go through a lot.
AN: What do you think how important is the role of mimetic theory in the art work? Do you think mimeses and self-projection is easy for an artist?
SH: It plays a vital role, while your draw it reflects your state of mind, your society and sometimes your inner self. Mimeses and self- projection are not an easy thing for an artist.
AN: How often you exhibit your work?
SH: My solo exhibitions are on yearly basis, but group exhibitions I do twice a month sometimes.
AN: How do you draw? What are you drawing these days?
SH: I believe in creating something different. As you know artists keep improving that is what defines them. I draw with aggression and sometimes with music playing in the background. Music helps me draw. You must have seen musical instruments in pictures as well. These days I am painting for Gallery 6’s exhibition. It is on figurative Lexis. Also working on Neo- Realistic Romanticism theme.
AN: Everyone has some inspiration. Who is your inspirational artist?
SH: My mentor is my inspiration but in senior artists Sadequain remains at the top of the list.
AN: Any advice for the young artists?
SH: My advice to them is that never quit hard work. Draw with your instincts let your soul free and let your hands move with your imagination. Be who you and live every moment.
Note: It was lovely meeting amazing lady. Interviews are just crux of the conversations. Off the record things are always remembered. Loved meeting her to bits. Pictures are taken from Gallery 6.