Haafiza Sayed poses next to her artwork in Dubai. Photographer: Kamal Kassim/ Gulf Today
Raghib Hassan, Staff Reporter
While walking through the Studio Seven Art Gallery, you are forced to pause, click, and appreciate the artworks, which explains a glorious journey of an Indian artist, Haafiza Sayed, who has the distinction of having studied at the JJ School of Art, Mumbai, India. The JJ School of Art, Mumbai, India is one of the finest institutions in the country and is widely respected for its illustrious alumni. World-renowned painters like M F Husain and Jatin Das, Bollywood actors Amol Palekar, Nana Patekar and many more luminaries have been associated with it. If you look at the works of Haafiza, you will instantly understand that she too carries the signature of that institution.
Born and raised in Mumbai, India, she belongs to an illustrious family of writers and artists. She is also a trained interior designer and has worked extensively in this field in the early days of her career. Having a passion for art since childhood, she started painting professionally only a decade ago, after arriving in Dubai. Talking about that she said, “Had I not come to Dubai, I would not have taken up my painting. I got into serious painting only after coming to Dubai. Earlier I only had one exhibition, while I was in another country. This exhibition is the my journey in Dubai and of my art.”
“Dubai has opportunities for all levels of artists. You get to participate in group shows and exhibitions. You also get lots of encouragement.
Dubai is considered a paradise for artists and art lovers. Praising the Dubai art scene, she said, “Dubai gave me opportunities. I participated in lots of group works and exhibitions. Once I also worked with the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation and that was a very long exhibition. It was a year-long exhibition and was well received by the people here.”
She added, “Dubai has opportunities for all levels of artists. You get to participate in group shows and exhibitions. You also get lots of encouragement.”
So armed with full-on encouragement, she decided to go ahead with her childhood passion.
Haafiza’s solo art exhibition, “Towards Abstraction,” at Studio Seven, Business Bay, Dubai, opened on April 10 and will continue till April 24. The exhibition reveals close to 30 paintings that represent the journey of an artist in different phases. She received lots of appreciation on the very first day of the exhibition.
While sharing her journey, she said, “I took up art very late in my life. I was pursuing an interior designing job because that was my family business. My father was also an artist but he had stopped painting and started the business of interior designing. So I did the same for a very long time until I landed in Dubai.
“Despite being away from serious painting for a very long period of time, the art in me and training which I had from JJ School of Art stayed with me like a shadow and never went away from me, though I would paint and sketch at home in my free time.”
A well respected artist, she is a very familiar face in the UAE art circuit. Recalling her childhood, she said, “As a child, I was born into the family of an artist. I picked up the brush at the age of 3 or 4. My dad was there to guide me. I received education at home as well as in the university.”
Haafiza comes from a family of artists and laureates. Talking about that, she said, “My father was a writer himself. All my aunts from my father’s side were writers. So, art and culture, literature, were in the family.”
When asked how she sees herself as an artist, she said, “I was actually a surrealist, that was my style from the beginning. JJ School of Art teaches you to follow realism. You get realistic elements inculcated during your stay at the college. But gradually along the way I moved away from realism to landscape art. Though you can still find reality in my works, I am also enjoying landscape art.
“I travel a lot. I love to travel. I love capturing the landscape. I can sit at a place and observe for hours and hours and this helps me in drawing landscape art,” she added.
Praising her learning at the JJ School of Art, she said, “I am fortunate enough to be there. I am quite proud of it. What I have learnt over there remained with me, and that was the trademark of teaching.”
A humble Haafiza is enjoying her journey and success in Dubai. And she also believes that being a mother and a wife can’t be a hindrance if you wish to pursue your passion. A great artist, Haafiza loves poetry as well, if you go through her artwork, you will also find lovely couplets gracing the painting.
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