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Nouman Arshad gives voice to his thoughts by painting

Nouman Arshad gives voice to his 
thoughts by painting

Nouman Arshad,a former student of Bright Future International School, Qatar, is currently studying at Northwest School of Medicine at Peshawar in Pakistan, pursuing medicine as a career. Born on July 10, 2000, the young artist is the son of prominent community member Engineer Arshad Hussain. At such a young age, Arshad has developed a signature style painting that is distinctive in its own way. His recent piece prepared in collaboration with his brother Farhan, “His Highness” a painting of the Amir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, was highly appreciated by art lovers. Recently, he won the first position in a poster painting competition held in Peshawar involving leading government and private medical institutions. In an interview with Qatar Tribune, Nouman spoke about his passion for painting and the importance of art in the life of a student.
Tell us about your background and what led you to painting.
Art was always a part of me -- from drawing pictures of cars on the back of my 3rd grade notebook and being rebuked for it, to scoring full marks in a biology paper for drawing too many diagrams, art and creating, it was always there. Everyone has a form of expression. Mine happens to be art -- expression of the things you fail to find words for. As I am a student of medicine now, art is what keeps me sane during the hectic times and is also helpful in anatomy.
Does art affect your academic life, especially in a field like medicine?
The universe maintains an order in order for everything to exist. I being a part of it must do likewise. We all have our comfort zones to crawl back to and relax. Mine happens to be art and just creating, letting the mind speak in its own way through pictures. I think it’s really important to do that and to take out time for it. We all have time for things. It’s really just a matter of priorities.
How can art contribute in the life of a student?
Art is something that is not looked upon too admirably in the sub-continent at least. It’s a representation of a society and defines who we are -- the language, the clothes, the culture, the architecture, the design, the poetry and music, all of it collectively tells us our ethnicity and background. Since we are social beings, we highly rely on this. For a student, in order to shape into the best form to contribute to the society, I think art also plays a very meaningful role along with the understanding of nature through science.
Did you receive some professional training?
No, I am a self-taught artist by all means. My will and passion led me to explore the various dimensions of expression through painting, sketching, etc.
Have you had the opportunity to showcase your talent?
Yes, I exhibited one of my live paintings at a competition in Peshawar for which I won the first place. Other than that, I’ve conducted workshop for kids, sharing my personal experiences and how to use art as a tool of expression. I wish to conduct more such workshops in the near future in Qatar as well. Also, I have an Instagram handle by noumanarshadd, where I share my latest works and updates. I have a long way to go on this journey, and much to learn and create. It’s just the beginning.
What are the subjects of your paintings?
My paintings are all nature-inspired, mostly a starry sky representing a boundless world of endless opportunities and possibilities with a touch of human emotion or a portrait. The paintings speak themselves, louder than I can explain here, and it’s a picture for you to draw an answer and find a meaning relevant to you. The flamboyant colours also describe how we can fit ourselves the way we want in this pre-shaped society and that we are not bound by what others think. Other than that, I also do calligraphy.
What can we do if we find an interest in art but are unable to create something eye-catching?
The art of drawing or painting is a form of submission which requires patience and practice to learn. I do not find myself a professional or some master level artist. I’m still learning new ways and exploring and there are many people I admire and look up to. You have to keep on practicing and that’s the key. I’ve been doing it since I got my hands on a pencil. I wouldn’t call it talent, rather it’s a passion that made me polish an art and anyone can. But with perseverance of course.
What motivates you to paint?
Painting is a sort of meditation for me where I’m just enclosed to the thought of what I paint and no distracting thoughts whatsoever. The serenity of it really captivates me.
What is your favorite medium of painting?
I have played around with all sorts of mediums but acrylics are on the top of my list.
Would you like to give any advice to fellow students?
No matter what you pursue in life, art will always cross its path with yours. Your voice, your expression are trademark of your own originality coming from a context you own and wear. It is what allows us to live as functional social beings. May it be painting, poetry, writing, speaking, give your thoughts a voice it can speak and interact and let everything out. Trust me, it helps and makes a difference.
What can we do as a community to encourage artists?
Once I ordered a Careem ride and to my surprise the captain was an actor who appeared on TV shows. I felt really sad seeing the financial situation of people who love and pursue art as a career. We take small steps to let artists flourish by buying their works and complementing them which costs not a dime. If we know a friend who is good at writing or sketching, pay and buy his/her work rather than asking for free. It will not only let them buy better supplies but will also encourage them to continue with their passion. If someone is unable to study sciences in high school and later on, it’s pointless for parents to force them into that if they are interested in arts. There is no such thing as a scope. Rather, you make scope out of the will power you have in a field of your choice.
What are your other interests and what are your future plans?
I’m going to pursue medicine as a career Insha’Allah. Currently, I am enrolled in a medical school. Art is what I’ll do side by side and hopefully someday I will be able to exhibit all my work when I think I’ve reached a certain place in that field. Filmography, poetry and writing are also my interests. I want to help people find their talents as I think there are many people who fail to identify and polish their talents on time.

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