Pure art form and digital art can both grow and coexist – Afshan Quraishi

In a creative world currently facing a surge of AI art and NFT’s, it’s always refreshing to see beautiful works in traditional styles. Afshan Quraishi, an artist living in the UAE, is a purist whose signature style stands out for its delicate traditionalism.

Her love of art began at an early age, where she was mentored on the fundamentals by Azeez Azmi, a master of fine arts in her home town, Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh, India.

Afshan Q

Quraishi hit the pause button for a couple of years on her creative license, but re-ignited her passion and picked up the brush to overcome empty nest syndrome, and she hasn’t looked back since.

Quraishi works in multi-media, but her preferred medium is oil on canvas, which allows her to showcase details and colours in her work. She also uses acrylics, pastels, watercolours, charcoal and graded pencils when sketching. You may have spotted her works around the UAE at hotels, galleries and at a number of art festivals across the country, including Art Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah Art Festival. She has even made a name for herself abroad, exhibiting at the Florence Art Festival and Mauritius Art Festival. She is the recipient of a number of awards including, the Leonardo Da Vinci Artist Award (2018), Arab Cultural Art Award and more. Another accolade? She also holds a golden visa in the creative field and she tells What’s On that she is, “very grateful to the UAE government for the great honour.”

Afshan Q

Her pieces also adorn the walls of royal homes around the UAE. This includes a portrait of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan – a painting Quraishi painted in 2018 to celebrate the Year of Zayed. “I feel so honoured that they found my art worthy enough to be a part of their art collection,” she says.

Her other eye-catching artworks showcase plenty of foliage and flowers, including her Flower Girl series. Quraishi holds a Masters in Botanical Sciences, and her love for nature began during field trips where she had to observe the natural world. “The flowers, the leaves have such symbolic expressions in art form”, she explains.

With a passion for ensuring that each artwork comes with a rich narrative, she compares her art to a visual autobiography. “I strongly feel that my paintings are about the pleasure of seeing myself exploring and embracing the beauty that surrounds me,” Quraishi smiles.

Afshan Q

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Her favourite work is called ‘Umm’ or ‘Mom’ and depicts the range of emotions we as humans experienced in the pandemic – those of hope, despair, fear, acceptance and triumph.

Each one of the pieces, Quraishi tells us, is unique. She is influenced by her personal experiences and works by other artists, including renowned Indian artists Raja Ravi Verma and Sayed Haider Raza, whose work she says are the “best examples of European academic art with Indian sensibility.” In the UAE, she is also impressed by Emirati artists Fatma Lootah, Najat Makki and Abdul Qader Al Rais, whose work represents people and the culture of the UAE in their own unique styles.

When asked about her thoughts on the surge of AI art, she says, “artists need to be aware of the new trends and amalgamate it with the traditional ones.” She adds that, “pure art form and the generation of digital art can both grow and co-exist at the same time.”

In her spare time, Quraishi loves to read and regularly visits Alserkal Avenue. She is currently working on her next solo exhibition slated for December this year.

Want to keep up with the artist? Check out her social media feeds on @afshanquraishi or view her artworks on the afshanartgallery.com website

Images: Supplied and What’s On