Social media first gained popularity for its ability to connect people, especially those constrained by geographical limits. It played an integral role in exemplifying and realizing the concept of Web 2.0 – a term that refers to platforms relying on user-generated content, with Instagram undeniably being the most popular one. Instagram initially picked up steam as a platform for photo sharing, but soon enough progressed into becoming a virtual world of its own as content creators began to recognize its potential through the advancement of features that gave them an interactive platform to share their stories.
It is precisely this democratic nature of social media platforms that have led to immense diversity in content creators, allowing artists to showcase their art to the world with the freedom to create their own narrative. To highlight their role in the visibility and representation of Pakistan, we have put together a list of Pakistani artists adorning Instagram with their masterpieces and inspiring others along the way.
Fatima Baig is an illustrator and graphic designer based in Lahore, whose work is spearheaded by her use of bold, contrasting colors in her artistic representation of strong and diverse women. What’s even cooler is that it was this very representation that landed her a spot with 23 other international artists commissioned by Google to create a sticker for Gboard for International Women’s Day in 2019, impressive right?
Mohsin Shaikh is an artist who primarily uses oil on canvas as his medium, with his most prominent subject being chalkboard. It is the detail with which he recreates the background of a chalkboard on a canvas, and the intricacy with which he then layers it with a striking combination of drawings and writings that sets his work apart and is sure to leave you beguiled.
Amani Noor Iqbal is a visual artist who initially utilized her Instagram handle for art journalism and curation, documenting the work of international artists. However, her talent and passion led her to document her own art consisting of hand-painted, bespoke porcelain. Iqbal’s polished techniques and variation in subjects are impressive to say the least and make her Instagram handle a must follow!
An illustrator, comic artist, and graphic designer, Umair Najeeb Khan gained popularity following the virality of his version of Pakistani superheroes, but it is his incorporation of everyday Pakistani elements into his storytelling, such as Pakistani food and pop culture that caught our attention and make his art a sight for sore eyes!
Areeba Siddique is an illustrator and animator based in Karachi, whose work is primarily based on the representation of desi, Muslim women. Siddique wears the hijab herself and uses her art and platform to challenge the false portrayal of muslim women, ultimately redrawing them as strong and independent women with agency. Additionally, her work also incorporates hijab and Pakistani fashion through creative and eye-catching animations that are impossible to miss and sure to keep you scrolling for more!
Sandeep Kumar is an artist as well as the director/owner of an art and design school, with a diverse portfolio of work ranging from portraits to his most recent collection consisting of variations of Pakistani coins that also incorporate calligraphy. It is his ability to strike the perfect balance between realistic and abstract elements in his artworks that will captivate you as you explore the world he creates in his art!
These creators and many more are representations of the immense talent present in Pakistan, and also highlight the pivotal role that social media plays in uplifting artists and creators by giving them a platform for creative self-expression and representation. Let us know what you think of these recommendations and if you know of other Pakistani artists that we might have missed out on, let us know so we can give them a shout-out in our next article!