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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA


Artist Bushra Sultana’s contribution to Parvez Qadir’s 19 Project is the creation of wonderful art out of one of the more mundane icons of the early days of the pandemic shutdown.

She explains, ‘I have chosen this particular piece as it relates to Covid-19 lockdown. The idea came to me at the start of the lockdown when people were going crazy about buying toilet paper. So, my thoughts were that people should have enough toilet rolls to create such a beautiful piece of artwork.’

‘This art piece is easy to create, only using basic art materials that people should have at home. These mandalas are also a nice gift to friends and family and a beautiful memory of this crazy time.’

Bushra gives an insight into her life under lockdown, ‘Life was a little difficult at first but as the days passed, I started to get the urge to be creative again. I am a full-time Art teacher and my time is limited to be creative. During the lockdown, I have been creating artwork and completing online courses to help me develop and promote my creative ideas and projects and make new contacts, within the art worlds. I have also started gardening which has been amazing because I have been able to create a beautiful space outside.

Bushra describes herself as ‘a Muslim Pakistani woman brought up in a western world.’

She is an inspirational creative woman who is very well-travelled having visited India, Nepal, Africa, Peru, South East Asia, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Bangkok. Unusually for a woman, especially with her cultural background, Bushra travels alone!

She explained ‘I am Inspired by my dad, the most amazingly intellectually cultural man, who allowed me to be who I am and to express myself. As a Muslim woman my dad, Samiullah Allahbakhsh, encouraged me to be independent and to go and find places.’

Bushra took a fine art degree at the prestigious Bretton Hall. ‘My degree work was all to do with fluid identity. As a Muslim Pakistani brought up in a western world you can be quite restricted in what you can do. Fluid identity is about the people you meet from whom you take mannerisms and ideas. That is what I tried to express in my degree work. It was very abstract, very layered with a lot of collage stuff.’

Since then she, ‘Did a few solo exhibitions, worked at the Urbis and did a lot of community arts work'. Her career as a teacher has included working in EBD [Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties] Schools and in Further Education Colleges.

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