Backing art as a career

The home workshop in Officer. 285037_02

Officer based artist Nazia Wasif is inspiring others to follow in her footsteps and chose art as a career. Having lived internationally throughout her younger years, Nazia fought the embedded belief that being an artist is not a suitable lifestyle and tells reporter JAMIE SALTER that Cardinia is a safe space to explore the joys of art.

Local artist Nazia Wasif is urging people not to be afraid to choose art as a career after carving her own path in the industry.

Nazia has spent her life fighting embedded view that art is not a viable option for work.

She was born in the Middle East and lived in Malaysia and Pakistan before moving to Melbourne at 25 years old.

Nazia and her family lived in the northern suburbs for 13 years before recently moving to Officer.

She said her mission was to inspire others to follow their artistic dreams.

“Art is not big thing in the culture that I come from and that is a concern,“ she said.

“It might be appreciated visually, but as a career, it is never an option.

“People are scared and I want to offer them that support to show them they can work in art.“

When Nazia was a child she quickly found a love for expressing herself though art.

There were no colour pencils in her home and her first memory of art was of Henna before she took advantage of scraps lying about the house.

“I would make dolls clothes out of my mother’s scrap fabric and then add mechanical aspects to it because my dad was an engineer and I would learn things from him,“ Nazia said.

When this year’s Pakenham Art Show theme of Motion was announced, the influences from Nazia’s parents came into play when she decided to build mechanical wings made of paper.

“I started going to Bunnings I would think ’If my dad was here, what would he buy to make it move?’ and then ’What fabric would mum buy?’,“ she said.

With a love for interactive artwork, Nazia wanted the public to make their own interpretations of the piece.

“I named it Transformation In Progress because I wanted it to be transformed into what one perceives,“ she said.

“My whole family got involved in the project, they are massive wings that were on the floor for a month – just when I was drilling the skeleton.

“I almost gave up on the wings, they were sitting there untouched for about three and a half months.“

Nazia was inspired to finish her project by Cardinia Arts Society’s president Jillian Ronald.

“When we moved here I didn’t know anybody, it was a bit difficult. I didn’t know how to reach out or where to start,“ she said.

“I came across the Cardinia Arts Society and Jillian took me under her wing – the team is lovely and has given me every opportunity.“

Transformation In Progress was awarded the third place prize in the Wearable Art category of the Pakenham Art Show.

Nazia predominately specialises in painting on silk and other mediums such as leaves and stones.

She said she found Cardinia to be most inclusive area for her artistic niche.

Although Nazia was brought up thinking art was not a career, she is now completing a Masters in Therapeutic Arts at The MIECAT Institute in Fitzroy.

“Art as healing for me is almost a prayer – it allows us to be who we are and gives us permission,“ Nazia said.

“I had to fight a lot of resistance because at the back of the mind it’s embedded that art is not a career, but my family helped me a lot to gave me the opportunities to grow.“

Nazia also visits schools to teach art – something she never thought she would do.

“I was such a naughty student and teaching was not at all my thing but when I create, I get this warm, fuzzy feeling,“ she said.

Nazia has given her two children Zain and Rija the freedom to study what they choose.

“It’s not easy because it’s not what I’m used to but they are much happier,“ she said.

She now hopes her journey of self-discovery will inspire other people in her community to let go of their inhibitions and embrace the therapeutic aspects of art.

“I want to network and draw more people to art,“ she said.