2016 was the year I realized I can be a better Muslim if I try harder. It was the same year I realized I can be an artist as well, the real one. And these two clash horribly together in real life sometimes, they could have torn me into pieces if I hadn't pretended to be balanced.
Muslims and Islam prefer words for their art. I'm poetic sometimes but it's not my best quality when it comes to art. I like to draw. Faces aren't allowed in Muslim art and it can possibly lead to an eternal hell I'm truly afraid of. So it feels awfully weird when I'm being called a Muslim Artist for my illustrations because it's more of an oxymoron. These two words Muslim & Artist don't fit together if I don't behave. And let me tell you how I do it.
I'm a young person stuck between religion & the world. Islam is the religion and art is the world. The characters in my illustrations (the heart shaped sunglasses girl) never have eyes, I either cover them with glasses or draw her with her eyes closed. It probably doesn't make a difference but I'm one step closer to a calmed conscience and a lil balanced life. It helps me be okay with my art. I'm trying my best to create a balance that probably doesn't even exist.
2017 is the year for my art. It started with my art being published in a magazine (The issue came out on 1st January so it's literally the year of my art)
And recently, I've started to mix religion & culture within my illustrations & journals. It's partly because they're closer to me than anything and mainly because I'm guilty. I'm just Areeba, born a female Muslim and wrapped in culture before anything else. Even the artist in me comes next.
So when people ask me why I blend religion & culture in my illustrations, I tell them that these two are the BIGGEST PART of my existence. I fail to tell them that I'm scared I might be over-stepping my boundaries and wrapping them in culture or religion is of a lot of help sometimes.
I just hope you and I find the balance we're looking for.