Shabeena's Paintings Depict The Miserable Reality Of The Baloch

Shabeena's Paintings Depict The Miserable Reality Of The Baloch
The Baloch youth is full of talent but it needs supports, encouragement and leadership from their leaders to create opportunities for them. Pasni is a coastal area located in the district of Gwader; it is considered to be the Lucknow of Balochistan as it is home to famous poets, artists, singers musicians, painters and  poets like Mubarik Qazi (National poet of Balochi), Muneer Momin, Zubair Muktar (poet and artist), Doli Baig, Meer Umar Meer,  as well as well-known singers such as Noor Khan Bizanjo, Rasool Bux Fareed, Saleem Ameen and others.

If someone visits in the land of Pasni, they would feel as if they have entered a world of literature and music. The human here has been engaged with art and music since the creation of the universe as a means to express emotions, feelings and passion especially in the form of paintings.

Besides this, the beautiful land of Pasni has also generated countless, talented young people, one of them being Shabeena Saleem, a 23  years artist  whose art has held the attention of art lovers nationally and internationally and on social media as well.

Shabeena has been working for a long time in the field of painting as her career. Initially, she started her interest in drawing while studying in the fifth grade and soon after that she began to practice it continuously. However, slowly and gradually, this choice affected her life in an interesting way.

According to her, she could express herself in the form of painting better than communicating verbally. As an artist, she could communicate her message through her passion instead of face to face conversation.

On the other word, selecting a field is difficult for a person in a conservative society. When she chose this area, she got a lot of negative messages and reactions from the surrounding where people claimed that she would suffer by facing difficulties or that she would be jobless in future. But she ignored others and followed her target.

"I have received and faced negative impressions and thoughts from the society as I have selected the area of painting as my dream. A dream which leads a person to his/her destination. A destination is their goal. A goal turns their dreams  into reality but I never compromised and followed my way," she explained.

She also narrated that her father was her main source of motivation as he always encouraged her to never give up and helped her overcome all hardships. According to her, when she planned for higher education after college level, she faced tremendous challenges to fulfill her want. Poverty is the main cause of depression of the people of Balochistan and it has destroyed the youth as they continue to live miserably.

"I thought to leave  my study after college life as belong to a destitute family but my father supported  me  constantly to continue further education as I reached at University society," Shabeena points out.

In 2018, she took admission at Sardar Bahadar Khan Women's University (SBKU) Quetta, once she thought to leave the institution due to financial crisis to pay the semester fees but after that she got scholarships to refund her fee as where she completed her graduation in 2022 at the department of Fine Arts. She is currently working in a  private school in her native area to educate surrounding children.

"We are living in a conservative society where the women are bound to trass pass from  their boundaries to express their thoughts independently and work job places," she explains. As she addressed numerous issues through her art including  transgender issues, early marriage, sexual harassment in job apartments, discrimination and Baloch conservative society on women's life where the elders restrict their daughters to choose their fields freely, and other significant circumstances of their daily life. She believes that at least 90% Baloch parents do not allow their girls to participate in social activities due to traditional concept.

Further she claims that women can do anything as men can. If a man could be politician as well as a woman can defeat the challenges. Her research thesis is also on the Baloch conservative culture and women.

Interestingly, being an artist, she is  inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci, and influenced by her colleges teachers who also encouraged her to work on this field as well. She used the techniques of Renaissance age as the rebirth of knowledge to communicate how the world has changed in areas including education as well as socially, economically and politically.

People try to find out different ways for exploring their thoughts as poet chooses poetry, singer selects singing, as artist also shares through painting to leave a message among the people. Art is the main source of literature through which an artist explores his or her emotions positively.

"I feel I am not bound when I start painting as art is where no one can bound me. A painter can change a picture into different directions as a red flower can be changed into blue, a dried farm can be filled with beautiful flowers. A broken house can be transferred into a decorative way. Art takes me far away from the boundary of sadness, depression and takes me to a different world," explained Shabeena.

Most importantly, she received many prizes from different art exhibitions and competitions and she also once  got second position during an art event by Pakistan NAB's side in Quetta.

Her paintings were placed at the recent Gwader book fair by the RCDC council in 2023 where her art exhibition attracted the attention of visitors and some paintings were also sold, generating about 50,000 rupees which was a source of income for her family.

No doubt, success comes when one overcomes all hardships. Shabeena explained that she suffered from the negativity about her style of expression and it took a lot of time for her to become an artist.

"For simple painting, it takes at least two or three days whereas for colourful art, it can be completed within ten days," she expresses. Interestingly, Shabeena Saleem assists her Baloch girls about painting fields and wishes to appear in more art exhibitions to prove her talent desirably.

She expects that the government of Balochistan will pay more attention on the Baloch education system especially for females to overcome with challenges. "If a person chooses a field, he or she must be honest and ignore the concept of depression, which could lead them in the world of failure. They need to sustain their struggle in a positive way," said Shabeena.