Ground Report | New Delhi: Kashmir’s Digital Artist; Afifa Faiz Makhdoomi, a graphic designer hailing from Srinagar Kashmir has set up an example before everyone that one can achieve anything with hard work and dedication. “ Ever since I was a little girl, I always found colors fascinating me. I was keenly interested in arts since early childhood. Whenever my elder siblings were taught coloring by my Uncle, I was attracted by those colors. Then I used to copy artworks like cartoons, sketches, drawings and it became my hobby”, she said.
After completing her schooling, Afifa decided to take her passion seriously and turn it into her profession. For the same, she got herself enrolled in the department of Fine Arts at the University of Kashmir and pursued her bachelor’s there itself. This course provided her with many opportunities to learn and create new things. Her course included: sculpting, painting, graphic designing, general arts, and fine arts.
“ I opted for graphic designing as my specialization in Fine Arts. Basically, Graphic designing is commercial art like billboards, posters, branding of things, etc. And when it is done on the software, we refer to that as graphic designing”, she said.
She did very well in this field and completed her master’s from Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi. And that was the moment when Afifa thought of setting her own company and providing a platform to the younger generations. But even with a clear aim and a lot of struggle, she couldn’t help out to convince her family of getting settled in New Delhi itself as a graphic designer. Having faced a lot of hardships and obstacles, Afifa didn’t give up and continued to dream the same in Kashmir.
“ When we love to do something, we don’t look for excuses to ignore the problem. Instead, we focus more on finding solutions for the same. Leaving behind the gender-biased mentality of Kashmiris, I made my mind to do wonders in the field of graphic designing. I decided to set up my own company in Kashmir which will surely help in a way to boost this sector. ” Afifa said.
Despite such an advancement, Graphic design hasn’t influenced people especially in J&K. And the main reason is the lack of knowledge related to this major. People used to take “Fine Arts ” as “Finance”, due to ignorance. Nowadays this field hasn’t developed to that level, but this sector is improving day by day. In India, the medicines and engineering section is only taken into serious consideration.
“I thought graphic designing as an opportunity to tell people about this field and make them well equipped about it as a need of an hour in today’s digital world. It’s never easy to set up something different and something new. Yes, it was a bit different so people thought it was odd. This didn’t interfere with my optimism of setting up my own company and moving ahead with graphic designing as my profession.”
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The scope for graphic designing is no doubt less but graphic designers earn a good sum of money even by working from home. It isn’t as easy as it seems. One has to be diligent while doing fine arts. One needs to check the prerequisites as offered by the customer. It is a matter of great nerves to draw the same art as proposed by the other party.
“ It was an intricate thing for me to keep doing with graphic designing. My Father didn’t like my profession. During their early days, he was not ready to accept my interest in the fine arts. He used to feel insecure while keeping in view the job opportunities and less knowledge in this field. Even during my 2nd year of graduation, he would insist I leave this course. But I think that helped me in a way or the other to show people how capable I am by doing something different. After receiving international awards people recognized me and the work I do. My Father was convinced of my profession when for the first time he saw my photograph mentioned as a Sonzel Competition winner in a newspaper. He had eyes full of tears. I remember back then, every person who looked down at me because of my profession was applauding me later. When you do wonders in life, people will eventually appreciate you and this changes their mind setup. “, she said.
Her outstanding performance in Sonzel Competition after winning back-to-back seven awards with Rank either first or second gave her hope that she was going on the right track. Her performance made her parents full of beans. That was a proud moment for her and this kept her motivated all through her journey in graphic designing. Later she won many international awards and that added glory to her profession.
“I think the way people were refusing to accept my field was what provoked me to do better and prove myself. My work was recognized in an exhibition that was held internationally and it was the time when my artworks got recognition in many countries like Lebanon, Jordan, Taiwan, UAE, and Iraq. My work was highly appreciated“. She said with a content smile on her face.
The success journey is always filled with roses and thorns. There were many incidents that disturbed her mind especially when it came to artworks related to the conflict zone. Some anonymous person from a company warned her not to display the artwork that was related to the conflict. The person even gave her a life threat. This couldn’t resist her in achieving her goals. Afifa stood tough before the toughest. She never dared to imagine receiving such a threat because of her artwork. But since her upbringing was in a conflict zone itself, she decided not to pay heed to such trivial matters and chose to be extra cautious.
“ As an artist, while working on a painting, I prefer brush oil colors and work layer-wise on paintings. Being as a graphic designer or commercial artist, though being a software thing, it depends on the requirements of the customers.”
Afifa being an optimistic person has a firm belief in hard work and dedication towards one’s goals. She says that one only reaches at international level after qualifying nationals and zonal. To reach the top, one has to climb the mountain and this foray is not always going to be smooth. She recalls that how she failed at first in clearing at the zonal level. But then the following year she became swot and devoted her all-time improving her skills, thus enabling her not only clear zonal rather secure 1st position in zonal as well as nationals. She agrees that competition is at its peak these days but one has to cope up with it by burning the midnight oil to achieve something.
In a message to youth, Afifa said “It’s only by hard work and perseverance that one can achieve success with flying colors. And when you rise to fame, don’t look down on others because once upon a time you were standing at their place. Be honest with your work. Don’t follow shortcuts. Love your work and be patient when it comes to rewarding because success will touch your feet at the right time and the right place.”
The author is an engineering student and she can be reached at (email@example.com)