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?UESTIONS: Farah Visual Arts

A voice for those who go unheard. Farah Soobhan is an Artist and Teacher who creates contemporary mixed-media.

Using striking pop art to explore her own identity as a Muslim woman, Farah's art also focuses on political and humanitarian crisis taking place globally.

What drives your passion to create Art?

I have been creative since my childhood, believing that this was the one thing that I was truly good at (my teachers in primary and secondary school boosted my confidence when it came to art) and the self belief that I'm good at creating (or can become good, can keep learning/ improving ) has become ingrained.

There are no mistakes in art, it's a journey of self expression and you can only grow from the set backs and improve as you go on. I don't tend to second guess my craft (but I do everything else in my life), I truly believe that my art is an extension of myself, just like being a Muslim, mother, wife.. Its who I am and who I need to be.

I do have creative blocks where I don't do any work for months or years at a time, but it's never about quitting, my mindset is always around respecting these times with the assurance that when the times right and inspiration strikes, it will happen. It's all authentic, innate and that's why I'll be painting and creating for the rest of my life, god willing .

Do you have a personal mission?

I'd love everyone to believe in their creative abilities. Every single person has their own sense of creativity, and it's about tapping into it and being aware that it's there. I believe that creatives see life differently, they appreciate the tiniest most insignificant beautiful moments, they see beauty everywhere even in pain and suffering.

I remember how instrumental my teachers encouragements were in helping me believe in myself, I'd love to be able to be that voice for others.

My dream is to host art workshops for children and adults far and wide, even internationally for charities and orphanages, to see them enjoy the creative process and feel the therapeutic benefits of painting, and to see the awe in their faces at what they have made with their own hands.

In terms of my art, I'd love people to see my work and it helps them form a more positive perspective about Islam, the struggles of being Muslim in this day and age, and to realize that we are not that different from one another after all.

The contemporary style of my work can help bridge gaps within communities and open up conversations that might not have taken place easily in a different context, art is a universal language and it can create a huge, long lasting impact.

I'd like to explore deeper aspects of myself through my art, my Mauritian heritage, motherhood, grief, strength, with the knowledge that by showing my vulnerability, it will undoubtedly help someone else too.

I see my art as an act of service, to spread truth about my faith, to raise awareness, speak up against injustice, be a voice for the voiceless and to touch the hearts of others through my life experiences.

As a teacher, what piece of advice would you give to yourself?

To not get complacent with my art, not to stay in the safe zone and to keep exploring other techniques and concepts. To improve on the procrastinating!

To turn the encouragement I give to others onto myself once in a while, I'm harshest to myself in many ways.

To fight harder for my dream of spreading healing through art, to study, work hard and not give up on it.

To be aware of the example I'm setting for my children and to encourage them to be true to themselves and their passions no matter what.

If your Art collection could speak, what would it say?

I hope that my work conveys the beauty of Islam, the strength of Muslims in a world that is mostly against them and the fact that Islamic art can also be contemporary, versatile and accessible enough to touch the hearts of anyone, from any and every faith.

I'd love my paintings to be a voice of strength for the people suffering around the world, I have created art on the Syrian refugee crisis, police brutality, misogyny, mental health and most recently my work has been about the Palestinian dispossession and apartheid happening right now.

Can you tell us about Migration Films and the K2 Base Camp Trek 2021?

Matt Robinson from @migrationfilms is my husband he is a humanitarian film maker, author and artist, he has been filming the Palestinian protests and sharing them far and wide to raise awareness of the ongoing catastrophe still happening in Palestine.

The K2 base camp trek is a trek that we are both doing with Muslim Charity UK to raise funds for the street children of Pakistan, we will be traveling to Pakistan and undertaking the trek which is known to be the hardest base camp trek in the world. We are supposed to travel this mid August 2021.

The funds will help provide education via the safety of a school, heated water and a better, safer life to the children of Pakistan. Our just giving page is on our social media bios if anyone would like to donate to such a worthy cause.

All images courtesy of Farah Soobhan

Instagram: @farahvisualarts

Just Giving: K2 base camp trek


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