Nazma Ali- The Life and Work of a Natural Artist
by Cerys-Leigh Phipps
Being raised by her Pakistani mother with her six siblings in South Wales, Nazma has always found inspiration for her art. She describes her art style as extremely abstract, as she draws the majority of her inspiration from her imagination mixed with nature, in whichever form it finds her.
Growing up in an overly grey Newport, Nazma recounts on how she would be able to find the smallest glimmers of colourful nature and how she grew these glimmers into artistic creations in later years. From seeing the newly sprung yellow daffodils on her way to school as a child, to the little patches of greenery in Castle Square in Swansea today, Nazma has chosen to take nature, and create something equally as beautiful.
Recounting her childhood, she remembers her household being a creative one. Colour is something that has always stood out in Nazma’s mind, and it is this world of colour that she applies to her canvas. She remembers the stories her mother would tell her about her life in Pakistan and how she would decorate the house with brightly coloured mugs, as well as making patterns on the house that became quite popular to passers-by.
Looking at the bright colours and various textures of saree fabrics that her and her mother would pick out, brought out a feeling that she just can’t describe. This is why when creating her art today, she chooses to use a variety of colours and turns up the saturation during the editing process, as she wants the viewers of her pieces to have the same sense of feeling she did.
Photo by Owen Martin Welsh | Asian the Glitterationist International: Hyphenated Identities
Nazma has always known that art is something that she has been drawn to and something that she would make a career out of. While walking to comprehensive school, she would walk past an Art School and remembers the feeling of seeing all the creative minds and artistic characters sitting outside. Describing these characters as “free”, she would always be wondering about their lives, thinking of scenarios for these colourful characters in her mind.
Digital Manipulation of work produced at the Glyn Vivian Art Gallery
Nazma also remembers how she and her three sisters would have to be their mothers voice while growing up. Only understanding very minimal English, Nazma and her siblings would often act as translator for their mother, which she retells as quite a confusing experience.
Being a child and trying to explain adult situations such as important letters sent through the post and having to translate for her mother when out in public, Nazma recalls feeling a sense of pressure on herself that at times could be scary and puzzling for a young girl.
Looking back, she also feels sympathetic towards her mother and her situation, which is one of the many reasons she decided to take part with Seventy Years of Struggle and Achievement the Lives of Ethnic Minority Women Living in Wales. Describing her own mother’s story as one of great struggle; moving to South Wales by herself at the age of 30 and not being able to see her husband for nine years which caused her great pain. Nazma remembers how while living in Newport, her mother would sew embroidery on scarf hems, only charging £1. Nazma remembers her mother’s proactivity, how she would do whatever she could to provide.
Designing the front cover for the book allowed Nazma to create something that shows “beauty and pain”. She recalls feeling a sense of anguish when creating the piece, as she started the process in early 2020, the same time in which COVID-19 struck. She describes the green and pink colours she used as quite ugly, meaning she was able to use this art piece as a vessel to release all of her frustration with the global pandemic.
Although Nazma thoroughly enjoyed working with Parthian Books to create this piece, she does have some new projects in mind for the future. Nazma had donated the fee from creating the cover to the charity ‘Women’s Aid’, as she is thankful for the help, she has received from them. She also hopes to do more charity work with her future projects.
You can purchase a copy of the book featured in this article here: