The Homegirl Project chatted with Gen-Z Pakistani artist and graphic designed Eesha Dawood about pursuing a creative career and putting more female artists in the spotlight.
article & interview by Fatima Rizwan
Young adults are growing up in a world that is constantly changing and all ours for the taking. Now, more than ever, dreams are being pursued, ideas are being exchanged and impact is being created.
Art has always played an essential role in our lives. Historically, it was used for communication, for identifying our humanity. But for many young women of color, it's been treated like a less appealing choice of career. It's easier to make money as a teacher, or a doctor, or a lawyer, we're told--all careers where we have a chance of advancing through hard work, and getting noticed despite our gender. Not art, which is subjective, dominated by the white male canon, where there are more nude female statues than female-created work in famous museums. Art is all around us, but it will only survive if more people demonstrate bold talent and are unafraid to shine some colors.
Eesha Dawood is one of those people, stuck in an age where figuring out your life is the main purpose, but so is maintaining an Instagram feed, and having good grades, a winning disposition, and everything else that is expected of young women. Although it may seem like a cliche to others, having a good novel and a sketching pad in her bag wherever she goes is what makes Eesha content.
Growing up with two parents as artists, she started drawing from an early age. She would spend her days drawing the things she wanted but could not have--whether that was n object, person, or feeling-- and that one drawing would be enough for her. How fulfilling is it to be content with yourself, creating positivity when there doesn’t seem to be any. Eesha believes she hasn’t found her best art yet, but she’s constantly striving toward it. Her transition from paper drawings to digital art is part of her story; her growth.
Eesha provides meaning to her dramatic and radiant art and makes the viewer feel like they are valued and deserve to be heard as well. She always wants to be approachable by her followers no matter how many she gets, she believes the bare minimum we can do is be kind to one another and that’s truly what makes her personality colourful.
On top of her art, Eesha works for “Zip It”, a company in Pakistan amplifying voices of youth. Using her artistic skills, Eesha works with women starting up their own business, including the new organization “Get Peachy,” which aims to provide cheap clothing for girls who could not otherwise afford it. She is working on designing graphic tees for them. She believes that the women making the branded clothes we wear are truly deserving of the spotlight, and that is what she hopes to give in the future.
That isn’t all to this restless but wild soul. Her heart remains with the land that enriched her soul. She realizes that talent is on the corner of every street and there is recognition that is needed and no time to wait. She hopes to resume her work in Pakistan creating art for herself and others with every step she takes in this journey of life.
F: When did you start drawing?
E: I have been drawing ever since I can remember. I started with basic colouring and shapes, I made characters. Recently I polished my art by drawing on paper as I needed meaning in my drawings and I am still trying to find my style. My account was private previously. If you go down you would see the edits I have made and there was a point in my life where I wanted to delete them but then I realised that this is my story and with every picture I’ll criticize it more to make it better.
F: That’s so true. If there is growth, there is betterment but how do you work on improving yourself?
E: I don't let my ego get inflated. I refuse to believe that this is the best work I could’ve done because I know if I do that, it’ll be the end of me. I keep criticising my work, I don’t shy away from compliments anymore but now I do acknowledge that my art is making people feel good and art always makes you feel some sort of way.
F: What projects are currently exciting you?
E: I am currently collaborating with women who are starting up their own business, like Get Peachy. They provide a facility where you can buy clothes you see over on pinterest but are never able to get them shipped on a reasonable price. I am making the graphic Tees for them.
F: Do you think you will be able to continue with art and find a direction you may want to take?
E: With Art, I never thought I was going somewhere. I just knew that I couldn’t live without it. There would be times where I would draw the things I wanted or imagined. If there was a shirt I couldn’t buy, I would draw it and then that would be enough for me. My material needs would be fulfilled through my art. In 2016. Instagram was booming with new artists and I was seeing a lot of talent coming out that’s when I discovered Digital Art. I started feeling like I don’t have enough colours in my palette and there aren’t enough colours in the world. I did a summer job in a bookstore, started working for Zip It, saved up for an oPad and made bad drawings but slowly I started to dive into my new transition from paper art to digital art.
F: You really do go the extra mile when it comes to your art. How do you think your viewers have been affected by your drawings?
E: There are so many other girls that are still not getting the support and recognition they need. When I am doing art, putting out my message there are girls who are contact me saying: “We don’t know how you are so good at this!” or “how are you so loud with your voice?” “You’re a girl, don’t you get criticism for this?” Just the recognition part really fascinates them. I just want to set an example for them because when someone does it and they are also approachable, that really makes a difference to them. All I know is that I am getting heard and there are girls that want to see my work and that’s how I always want to be.
F: That’s really nice. What changes do you wish to see in the art world, and how does that impact your future plans?
E: The least we can do is be kind to one another. I want to give back to my people, even if I go abroad I still want to identify as a Pakistani. I have plans to run my dad’s business in the future but include my art within it, as well. The women behind the branded clothes we wear, the designers ad those ordinary girls working day and night are the ones that need the recognition. I want to give them the spotlight and independence.
F: How do you think this world can do more when it comes to art?
E: The day we realise the importance of art is the day we start to become more independent. Art has a bright future and raising awareness about people having careers in art and encouraging them can really colour the world with humanity and positivity