Artist Tehreem Pasha-Jaffar is using classic Islamic art techniques and traditions to create her own style of art.
“It all starts with a random quote, proverb, poem, or anything that I may have overheard from somewhere,” Pasha-Jaffar recently told the Mango Baaz. “I take that in and start to imagine the world around it, an environment that would go hand in hand with it.”
Based in Dubai, the Pakistan-born revealed that she had been drawn to shapes and characters long before she had any sort of formal art training.
“I used to draw these random shapes with multiple colors (in my head they were some kind of characters) and other doodles and keep handing it all to my father,” she said of the images she created as a toddler. “That is the earliest memory I have of creating something. And as I grew older, things just made sense and today I’d like to believe it was my calling because I feel absolute zen when I sit and create.”
Over the course of her career Pasha-Jaffar has become known particularly for her work inspired by tehzip or Arabesque inspired art, which consists of interlocking patterns, tendrils and lines. She told the Express Tribune in May that she distinctly remembers the moment she knew that tehzip would be an integral part of her art.
“I remember it like it was yesterday – the moment I fell in love with Tehzip/Islamic illumination, the intricacy, the delicacy, the sheer beauty in the history of Islamic art,” Pasha-Jaffar told the paper during a lengthy interview.
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In addition to her focus on Islamic designs, Pasha-Jaffar has also said that the natural world remains a strong influence on her style. The presence of nature can also often be seen in her portfolio. “The design patterns, especially the geometry that nature displays day and night, I don’t think there’s a bigger pool of inspiration anywhere else,” she said to the Express Tribune.
As she moves forward in her career, Pasha-Jaffar says that she’ll continue to expand the scope of her work. “I’m currently expanding my knowledge and my practice with a more experimental take on traditional and gothic script styles,” she said, adding that she hopes to do large scale murals one day.