I’m Samina Islam, I’m half Dutch and half Pakistani. Born in Pakistan and grew up in The Netherlands. I married a Pakistani and he joined me in The Netherlands where we had our first two children. I was working as a Management Assistant at that time, but I always had that creative side in me. We decided to move to Pakistan and this is where my journey began as an artist. I joined an art institute when I was in my early thirties, my daughter was 4.5 and my son 2.5. I would go to the institute when my children would go to play group and Kindergarten. I completed 4 years of Fine Art and received a 3rd position in Karachi when I graduated.
I became a mother for the third time after my graduation. I was not able to produce any work for a couple of years, as I had no energy left with bringing up 3 kids. As my children started growing up, I had more time to spend on my art and I utilised every minute of it. I have always been a hard worker and I believe in following my dreams.
Art is my passion and sometimes I feel guilty thinking about what I could have achieved, as an artist, if I’d been single and solely focused on my work. We women are made to feel guilty thinking like this but sometimes I do envy male artists who have more time to spend on their practice. I’m now Head of an Art department in a High school, I take care of my household but my kids are grown up now as they are 25, 23 and 16 years old. I’m 52 and feel like a second chapter of my life has started.
I used to primarily paint with oil paints, but I started using needlework on inkjet on canvas a couple of years ago. I’m a multidisciplinary artist using photography, video art, needlework and in future I will be adding textile sculpture to the list. Being someone with a very creative personality I felt oil painting was restricting me as an artist and I had always been in love with textiles and stitching. I take photographs and get them printed on canvas. I work on top of these images with thread, but I’m always experimenting and lately I started adding sequins and beads to my work. I also love to manipulate my images in Photoshop and have created some digital collages and stitch on top of these.
My work is always in some way connected to my thoughts, experiences and feelings. I did a series on women and loss of identity when they start a family. I felt like this for a small part of my life but now I am more energised than ever before. My passion is my drive to move forward as an artist, being a mother should not be an excuse to hold you back. Kids grow up and you will have more time. I’ve been for 3 artist residencies and I’m planning to go for 1 every year if I can. I create art because it is a necessity for me. I love what I create, and I want to enjoy what I do.
Words and images by Samina Islam
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