A beatific, angelic smile. The gentle expression on her face. These were the first things I observed about Abida Parveen. And also that despite her years, she has a child-like innocence on her face.
Then I remembered what had introduced me to her in the first place. Her amazing artwork on Cashmere, Wool, Silk, Cotton and Canvas. Her art is a riot of colours. It is like witnessing Kashmir through the various seasons. Now the blooms of sonth, now our lakes and meadows in grishum, now the oranges and rusts of harud, now the soft whites and ivories of shishur and more. I later learnt that Abida is a self-taught artist who retired as a professor of chemistry from Government Amar Singh College, Srinagar. There is so much dexterity and harmony in her art. It seems like the special gift of Allah (SWT) that flows through her hands on all that she touches with her brushes and colours.
The patterns that she creates are original inspirations. The themes are botanicals, abstracts, cubist and monochromes. It is inspiring to know that Abida always uses only certified eco-friendly dyes. Art has been Abida’s abiding hobby since childhood. She could not devote much time to it earlier because of studies, marriage, children and family responsibilities. After retirement, she decided to explore her hobby to its full potential. Abida is joyous that her family and extended family have supported her through this journey of traversing into the world of art. The inspiration to paint on Cashmere came because Abida wanted to create something that was uniquely Kashmiri. She was also keen to preserve the special features of Cashmere like its texture, softness, look, warmth and touch. All of these wonderful features remain intact after her artwork on the beautiful wools and fabrics.
Abida finds life in art. “Artistic pursuit is the essence of my existence, the purest, noblest and most inspirational part of my being. Thorough art, the child within strives for purpose and place in life,” she says with charming simplicity. Everything she makes is hand-crafted, and all products are sold online. Abida is planning to explore the international market and open a shop locally. Abida has named her products Bega, her mother’s name. It is her way of lovingly remembering her mother and carrying forward her legacy. Abida encourages the youth to explore their talents and pursue their hobbies. Their hobby can be their chosen career if pursued with excellence. If not, it shall always be their special oasis of peace and joy in life. Abida advocates that the government can come up with schemes to give young artists the opportunities to use their talents to become self-dependent.