Collab—Aisha Arif

AISHA ARIF
Age: 21 
Location: Liverpool, England  
Heritage: Lahore, Pakistan 
Instagram: @aisha.a_ea

I am a student at the University of Liverpool studying archaeology, my specific specialism is in the archaeology of the Levant. I have always been fascinated by history and cultures across the world, which has led me to study ancient cultures today. With my creative background and my chosen career path, I try to merge the two by developing my skills through archaeological illustration. In regard to my ethnic background, both my parents are Pakistani and come from Lahore. My mum was born and raised in Karachi—she is very proud that she was brought up in the Sindh! This inspired me to create the painting of the Pakistani mango (which is the country’s national fruit) wearing the traditional Sindhi topi (hat)

How did you begin creating art/illustrations? 
My nani (grandmother) was an artist and she inspired me to develop my passion for art ever since I was a girl - she still asks me if I’ve painted anything new! When I was 15 I started experimenting with different art styles and realised that watercolours were my favourite medium. I started developing my own technique and now I try to capture unique aspects from different cultures and history through the fluidity of watercolours. 

What motivates you to create art inspired by Pakistani culture?
Pakistan is a vibrant and diverse country with a rich history and culture that is often overlooked due to the negative effects of imperialism. This is something quite personal to me and the British Asian community as it has turned Pakistan into a hidden gem in Asia that is sometimes underrepresented and overshadowed. This motivates me to create art so that more people can see just how beautiful this country actually is.

What is your goal with your work as an artist? 
My current goal is to continue to show historical sites and artefacts from places that have long been forgotten. I want people to see similarities with ancient cultures by observing their every day life, taking a step back from the glamorised and luxurious side of history that everyone admires. I also hope to explore different mediums and build my techniques so that I can depict both modern and ancient cultures in a distinctive perspective.

Aisha's illustration
available from 11/10–12/31!

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