Collab—Uroosa Khan

UROOSA KHAN 
Age: 24 
Location: Leeds, United Kingdom 
Heritage: Karachi & Rawalpindi, Pakistan 
Instagram: @uroosathreads

"I am a second-generation Pakistani, born and brought up in the UK. My father is from northern Pakistan from a small village outside Rawalpindi and my mother is from southern Pakistan, Karachi. I currently work in the healthcare sector but spend most of my free time dabbling in different mediums of art, mostly embroidery and road running. I find it to be the best way to unravel my thoughts or be the perfect distraction." —Uroosa Khan

How did you begin creating art/illustrations?
I have always enjoyed playing with textiles and appreciated embroidery, the first embroidery piece I made was a book cover using kufic calligraphy. I am particularly drawn to embroidery because it brings a third dimension, playing with colours and textures can be demanding at times most of my pieces take hours to create. That’s what I enjoy the most. The process. Embroidery has taught me to slow down, you can’t rush stitches, they naught or get caught. Sometimes you do mess up, so you have to unstitch and start again. Which makes the end result even more satisfying. Now I am most definitely hooked.

What motivates you to create art inspired by Pakistani culture?
Growing up I struggled accepting my culture. Navigating the complex juxtaposition of the cultural traditions my parents held onto whilst they voyaged west and a British upbringing was confusing. Being Pakistani wasn’t mainstream, I was in constant conflict between two traditions. Now, as a young adult having gone back and wanting to explore my ancestral roots I have love for both where I live and where my parents came from. Now I hope to change that narrative, I want to bring the love of my cultures into the artwork I create. I have a profound appreciation and love for Urdu, one word can hold so much depth. My culture is so vast and rich with amalgamations of colours and textures, poetry and art its enchanting. Be that a hand painted riksha or captivating qawwali, It’s impossible for it not to be a huge source of inspiration. 

What is your goal with your work as an artist? 
Enjoyment to begin with, my art is often another way to escape. If I’m honest I don’t have a set goal yet. I know I like working with Urdu and incorporating it into my work.

What would you like to see more of in the online creative Pakistani space?
More! I never considered myself a creative or an artist, mainly due to the fact I never saw people like me in these spaces. Social media has been a huge influence on my attitude towards art and its power. I’ve connected with so many wonderful and brilliant Pakistanis. 

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

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