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DIAF in a chat with artist Shalzy Khan who is currently showing her creations st NM Art Gallery. Shazly was shy for a v-interview, so we did an email Q&A with her:

DIAF: When did the creative bug catch you? When did you know you can create these works of art?

Shazly Khan: I believe that the ability to draw, paint and create is inborn, and later on polished by experience, dedication and hard work. I can remember really well that I could draw and paint at the early age of 3, and was often praised for that by my teachers; I was the star artist of my class!

I had my first ever painting exhibition, in my French nursery in Algeria: I had painted really big decorative flowers set on small easels. And I was sad when other parents were buying my art works.

DIAF: Most artists say that their paintings depict / reflect who they are in some way or another. Please comment.

Shazly Khan: True, paintings do reflect or depict the artist! When an artist is true to him or herself, only then real art, good or bad, is portrayed on the canvas. Artists are sensitive, and they have the tendency to absorb and reflect themselves, their own experiences and surroundings. And art is the only platform through which they share their quiet, peaceful, exciting or volatile world with others. I know myself to be one of them.

DIAF: One of the most volatile (or peaceful, depends on how you look at it) topic. What made you choose ‘relationships’ to incorporate / depict in your work?

Shazly Khan: LIFE itself is my biggest inspiration! I have always observed life, and tend to celebrate it by painting it. There is no life without relationships, be it good or bad. But, I believe in cherishing the short yet beautiful moments of life, and letting go of bitter experiences and finding inner peace. My paintings are all about the love of life and family, and the transition I have gone through – from girlhood to becoming a woman and the ultimate dream of becoming a mother! I believe everybody can relate to my simply narrated yet deep thought provoking paintings.

DIAF: What do you plan to achieve with your artworks, when you showcase them? Appreciation of course, but what else?

Shazly Khan: Along with appreciation, I want women and even men to raise their heads and find self respect, gaining dignity in oneself. Start respecting yourself and others too. I want the viewers to start looking at the bigger picture, cherishing whatever good they have. And aiming high. I hope I get my message across, because this is how I manage my life with kids, husband, and my work. Only making peace with oneself and surroundings makes life worthwhile.

DIAF: I love the way you say that, ‘I look at my paintings as a manner of expression of my deep love for life and family, and a manifestation of my wish to protect it and create an inner sense of peace and happiness.’ Something that seems to be slowly fading in today’s world. Is this your attempt to revive societal change toward family ties?

Shazly Khan: Yes it is. I will always make an attempt to get this message across, so our families become part of a happy, content, productive and fertile society.

DIAF: What do you do when you are not creating art?

Shazly Khan:Live to the fullest, spending quality time with family, bonding with my kids, my parents, siblings. Traveling and taking pictures of beautiful family moments and places. I also love cooking and baking.

DIAF: ‘The elongated human forms represent huge commitments, ambitions and sacrifices made by human beings.‘ A statement made by you. When did this symbolism occur to you and how?

Shazly Khan: Symbolism occurred to me naturally, when I committed to painting in 2000, when simple things meant a lot more than their actual meaning. For e.g., a plant for me stands for fertility of mind necessary for a healthy society and a woman being able to bear a child. A chair is a symbol for making place for oneself. Buildings and fish stand for the haphazard yet beautiful urban life, dove for inner peace and soul-searching, a cup of tea for leisure time, alone time. Sun for ambition and a bright future, decorative chakras for the love of being pregnant, encircling arms for protecting oneself and loved ones and hands in pose of prayer finding peace and connecting with Almighty Allah the Giver!

DIAF: Your message to aspiring artists the world over?

Shazly Khan: My message to all aspiring artists is to be true to themselves, to create what is true in their hearts and souls, never copy others, yet being inspired is not bad. There are no short cuts to success. Because experience takes time, therefore you have to be out there, continue to struggle and commit oneself. This is the way to reach your ultimate goals. Insha’Allah!

DIAF: Art in Dubai. Your thoughts…

Shazly Khan: I believe Dubai is rapidly becoming a hub for the arts and people through the help of media and numerous galleries are becoming aware of the importance of art, buying art, investing in art and promoting art. I was here in Dubai for my solo show at NM art gallery and had a tremendous response for my art works.

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The Artist – Shazly Khan

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  1. Muhammad Ali (SAQI) October 9, 2012

    Shazly Khan :
    is indeed a genuinely God Gifted artist much Talented well skilled and all clear in execution of her subject, I am watching her art pieces since almost one year, I always enjoyed a lot and got fresh feelings and energy in her art work, never ever even a single time I did feel that; “She is now limited to this or that, or a victim of repetition, or becoming Boring now,” 🙂
    NEVER ever, even in her black and white art works, which are also interesting to watch.
    Every home wall feel proud to have a painting of “Shazly khan”, to be decorated with! 🙂
    When First time even I was not familiar to her First Painting I saw and I shouted happily, “YES this is what I love to see”! And then I became a big fat fan of her art! 🙂 and still never once i got bored of her art, It is all because of her creativity, Unique daily life subject and beautiful executions, that a common layman like me can also feel some attraction and some interest to watch and enjoy.

    she is always seems much clear that what she is going to explain on canvas and she finished her art successfully, without wandering unnecessarily, here and there, No adding irrelevant objects and hidden stories, may be it is because of her own personality, calm peaceful and straightforward thinking!

    I wish her Best of Luck for the future art and stable, prosperous family life, May Allah Almighty grant her more courage and stamina, like, presently she is giving good quality time to art and her family, simultaneously! (ameen)

    1. shwetadembla October 12, 2012

      Hello m-a-saqi,

      Thank you for your comments. We always appreciate feedback and love it when viewers take the time and effort to comment on posts. Thank you for visiting DIAF. Hope you are enjoying the other sections as well. We really liked Shazly Khan’s work as well, which is why I was keen on featuring her. The thoughts behind her paintings / inspirations are so pure and a gentle reminder of how important the simple things in life are and most importantly, relationships.

      Glad you enjoyed seeing her work. I have put it up on DIAF’s Pinterest page as well.

      Keep watching Dubai in a Frame for more on Art, Fashion and happenings in the city of Dubai!

      Have yourself a great weekend!

      Best Wishes,


  2. Hamood October 9, 2012

    Congratulations Shazly on presenting Pakistan’s softer image abroad.
    It is remarkable how you have encompassed so many spheres of life and most of all human dignity has been emphasized.
    To find inner peace which is vividly expressed in your paintings is art in itself.
    Well done and looking forward to your new exhibits.