Meet Jasia Iqbal Nowshahri: Kashmiri Artist Who is Clearing Misconceptions about Art

Jasia iqbal nowshari

Tell us about yourself?

When I was 8, I picked up on a very peculiar habit of sketching what I observed around me. The idea of being able to capture moments on paper always en-kindled joy within me. To begin with my story as you call it, my name is Jasia Iqbal Nowshahri. I’ve done my schooling from Presentation Convent till 2010 after which I pursued Commerce in high school from Delhi Public School. In school I was a very active student . I played my first nationals in basketball in Delhi public school. During these years I had lost touch with this sketching habit of mine until in high school, when one day I bunked a maths class and attended a Fine Arts class instead. The teacher present noticed my sketching skills and pointed out that I was better than everyone present. (On a side note, fortunately or unfortunately he also caught me bunking ). On the brighter side he advised me to stay in the same class for good . And so I did and here I am today.

What do you say when people ask you ,”what do you do ?”

What I do is very simple to understand. I have not tied myself to a specific label in terms of what I do. I find labelling myself restricting. What I do is very free and liberating. I have been taught to pursue what fulfills my soul, to do what makes me happy at the end of the day. What I do is something I can do all my life without ever wanting a vacation or a break.
Technically speaking I paint landscapes and occasionally I dribble with sketching. My forte primarily is florals, landscaping which includes sunscapes, seascapes, nightscapes dawn and twilight and everything else you can imagine in a landscape. My landscaping medium is oil on canvas. In sketching my medium is pencil, water colours and charcoal.

What inspires you for the pieces you create?

Inspiration to put something on canvas doesn’t have to be a moment or something big. For me inspiration can be found in the most simplest of places. A routine mundane scene can extract enough inspiration to put something on a canvas.

The biggest inspiration that further propels me is the feeling I get when I complete a piece. The feeling of a complete, filled canvas is the drive that keeps me on it.


What emotions play the biggest role in art ?

Emotions can’t be understood in black and white. There are layers within layers. The beauty of the canvas is that it gives me an opportunity to project these layers in colours. Every colour is a depiction of an emotion, a story. For example: the colour red: It goes with aggression, anger, intensity. On the other hand the colour blue: Blue has subtlety, calmness, tranquility and hope. I’ll agree that emotions play a pivotal role in my paintings. Paintings project my state of mind. So for me it won’t be a single emotion . My paintings are the hues of all my emotions.

How and when did you start selling art ?

It’s been a little over a year now since I have officially started selling my work . I got my first order virtually through Instagram. There was an overwhelming response of people wanting portraits of themselves and their dear ones . I commercially started with sketching portraits . With time as people familiarised with my work there was sense of acceptance which reflected in terms of a greater demand for my work . 

What’s something that most people just don’t understand about your field ?

The biggest myth about this field is that people feel it is a hobby. It is job of leisure. Some of my own friends at times advice me to do something real with my life, professionally. People don’t see art as commercial or professional.
And in Kashmir, this issue presents itself tenfold. I have to create an awareness, a concept in the minds of people around before I put my work out there.  I’ve been trying to create that exposure and a market for my work. It a slow process but I do see people opening up to it, appreciating and accepting this field as it is.
This much needed acceptance and appreciation, however little it is from my own people keeps me going.


Does your social and political climate impact your artistic expression ?

The political scenario, commercially speaking does affect my work. When paintings can’t be delivered to people, when you yourself run low on stock, it is commercial loss. Not only does the current political situation affect my work commercially, it also shows in my work. When you see murder, blood, pain, turmoil all the time for a long stretch constantly, it affects your state of mind which thereby is reflected in my works.
Coming to the social scenario, people have started to appreciate my work and demand more of it. The idea of brightening a wall simply through the colours of a canvas invites people to my work.

What does it mean to be an artist in Kashmir ?

Speaking from my own experiences Kashmir is a place were people judge your work by the size of your canvas irrespective of the work of art the fills the canvas . A person needs a lot of courage and self belief to choose to be an artist in a society that’s not been yet fully exposed to this broad field of art .


Do you have any advice for artists who want to pursue this career?

To all these budding artists out there like myself, I only have one thing to say. Believe in your potential, love what you do and be persistent about what you do. Success, fame and everything else may come but do not depend on it. The amount of hard work and persistence you put in is the only thing that will take you places.

Where can someone purchase your artwork or learn about your artwork?

To purchase my work, anyone can access me virtually either through Facebook or Instagram or they can just email me.
My Facebook page is Jasia Iqbal.
My Instagram page is @ja_sia
My email ID is [email protected]
Any further inquires can be addressed at Khatlan Interiors, Rajbagh , Srinagar .
You can check her art work on Gyawun Art aswell


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